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Reconciling Models of Diffusion and Innovation: A Theory of the Productivity Distribution and Technology Frontier

Author

Listed:
  • Jess Benhabib
  • Jesse Perla
  • Christopher Tonetti

Abstract

We study how innovation and technology diffusion interact to endogenously determine the productivity distribution and generate aggregate growth. We model firms that choose to innovate, adopt technology, or produce with their existing technology. Costly adoption creates a spread between the best and worst technologies concurrently used to produce similar goods. The balance of adoption and innovation determines the shape of the distribution; innovation stretches the distribution, while adoption compresses it. Whether and how innovation and diffusion contribute to aggregate growth depends on the support of the productivity distribution. With finite support, the aggregate growth rate cannot exceed the maximum growth rate of innovators. Infinite support allows for “latent growth”: extra growth from initial conditions or auxiliary stochastic processes. While innovation drives long-run growth, changes in the adoption process can influence growth by affecting innovation incentives, either directly, through licensing excludable technologies, or indirectly, via the option value of adoption.

Suggested Citation

  • Jess Benhabib & Jesse Perla & Christopher Tonetti, 2017. "Reconciling Models of Diffusion and Innovation: A Theory of the Productivity Distribution and Technology Frontier," NBER Working Papers 23095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23095
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mike Waugh & Christopher Tonetti & Jesse Perla, 2013. "Equilibrium Technology Diffusion, Trade, and Growth," 2013 Meeting Papers 484, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. König, Michael & Lorenz, Jan & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2016. "Innovation vs. imitation and the evolution of productivity distributions," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(3), September.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:34651703 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Galli, Silvia, 2011. "Innovating like China: a theory of stage-dependent intellectual property rights," MPRA Paper 30553, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Perron, Pierre & Vogelsang, Timothy J, 1992. "Nonstationarity and Level Shifts with an Application to Purchasing Power Parity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 301-320, July.
    6. Jesse Perla & Christopher Tonetti, 2014. "Equilibrium Imitation and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(1), pages 52-76.
    7. Jess Benhabib & Jesse Perla & Christopher Tonetti, 2014. "Catch-up and fall-back through innovation and imitation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 1-35, March.
    8. Chu, Angus C. & Cozzi, Guido & Galli, Silvia, 2014. "Stage-dependent intellectual property rights," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 239-249.
    9. Nancy L Stokey, 2014. "The Race Between Technology and Human Capital," 2014 Meeting Papers 1113, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michele Battisti & Filippo Belloc & Massimo Del Gatto, 2017. "Technology-specific Production Functions," Working Paper series 17-26, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    2. Nancy L. Stokey, 2018. "Technology and Skill: Twin Engines of Growth," NBER Working Papers 24570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Furukawa, Yuichi & Lai, Tat-kei & Sato, Kenji, 2017. "Receptivity and Innovation," MPRA Paper 81536, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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