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Did Computer Technology Diffuse Quickly?: Best and Average Practice in Mainframe Computers, 1968-1983

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  • Shane M. Greenstein

Abstract

An economy benefits from advances in technical frontiers only when new technology comes into general use. This paper measures the diffusion of computing equipment at a time when computing technology underwent dramatic technical improvement. These data shed light on the long lag between advances in computing technology and advances in economic performance of users. There is little evidence that long lags were produced by the 'slow diffusion' of new technology embodied in new hardware. 'Average practice' in computing advanced as rapidly as 'best practice,' lagging it by a maximum of 6 to 7 years.

Suggested Citation

  • Shane M. Greenstein, 1994. "Did Computer Technology Diffuse Quickly?: Best and Average Practice in Mainframe Computers, 1968-1983," NBER Working Papers 4647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4647
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4647.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst R. Berndt & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Price Indexes for Microcomputers: An Exploratory Study," NBER Chapters,in: Price Measurements and Their Uses, pages 63-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    3. Catherine J. Morrison, 2000. "Assessing The Productivity Of Information Technology Equipment In U.S. Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 471-481, August.
    4. Ernst R. Berndt & Catherine J. Morrison & Larry S. Rosenblum, 1992. "High-Tech Capital Formation and Labor Composition in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: An Exploratory Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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