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Appropriate Technology and Growth

  • Susanto Basu
  • David N. Weil

We present a model of growth and technology transfer based on the idea that technologies are specific to particular combinations of inputs. We argue that this model is more realistic than the usual specification, in which an improvement in any technique for producing a given good improves all other techniques for producing that good. Our model implies that technology improvements will diffuse only slowly, even if there are no barriers to the flow of knowledge and no adoption costs. On the other hand, although our basic production technology is of the `Ak' variety, technology diffusion implies that countries with identical policies and different initial incomes do eventually converge to the same level of per-capita income. We argue that a model with appropriate technology and technology diffusion is more appealing, and has more realistic predictions for long-run convergence and growth, than either the standard neoclassical model or simple endogenous-growth models.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5865.

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Date of creation: Dec 1996
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics (November 1998).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5865
Note: EFG
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  1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  2. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1990. "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sergio T. Rebelo, 1990. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 3325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jong-Wha Lee, 1994. "Capital Goods Imports and Long-Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 4725, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  6. Durlauf, S.N. & Johnson, P.A., 1994. "Multiple Regimes and Cross-Country Growth Behavior," Working papers 9419, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
  8. Stokey, Nancy L, 1991. "The Volume and Composition of Trade between Rich and Poor Countries," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 63-80, January.
  9. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 1993. "Changes in the wealth of nations," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-16.
  10. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence Across States and Regions," Papers 629, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  12. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-78, September.
  13. Danny Quah, 1992. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 75, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Benhabib, J. & Rustichini, A., 1993. "Follow the Leader: On Growth and Diffusion," Working Papers 93-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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