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The Transition to a New Economy After the Second Industrial Revolution

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  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Patrick J. Kehoe

Abstract

During the Second Industrial Revolution, 1860-1900, many new technologies, including electricity, were invented. These inventions launched a transition to a new economy, a period of about 70 years of ongoing, rapid technical change. After this revolution began, however, several decades passed before measured productivity growth increased. This delay is paradoxical from the point of view of the standard growth model. Historians hypothesize that this delay was due to the slow diffusion of new technologies among manufacturing plants together with the ongoing learning in plants after the new technologies had been adopted. The slow diffusion is thought to be due to manufacturers' reluctance to abandon their accumulated expertise with old technologies, which were embodied in the design of existing plants. Motivated by these hypotheses, we build a quantitative model of technology diffusion which we use to study this transition to a new economy. We show that it implies both slow diffusion and a delay in growth similar to that in the data.

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  • Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2001. "The Transition to a New Economy After the Second Industrial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 8676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8676
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    Cited by:

    1. Yi-Chan Tsai, 2010. "News Shocks and Costly Technology Adoption," 2010 Meeting Papers 567, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2004. "Aggregate Consequences of Limited Contract Enforceability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 817-847, August.
    3. Jones, Charles I., 2005. "Growth and Ideas," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 1063-1111 Elsevier.
    4. Pedro S. Amaral & Erwan Quintin, 2005. "Finance matters," Center for Latin America Working Papers 0104, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    5. Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ananth Seshadri, 2003. "Frictionless technology diffusion: the case of tractors," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    6. Erwan Quintin, 2008. "Contract enforcement and the size of the informal economy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(3), pages 395-416, December.
    7. Bronwyn HOWELL & Arthur GRIMES, 2010. "Productivity Questions for Public Sector Fast Fibre Network Financiers," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(78), pages 127-146, 2nd quart.
    8. Joan Torrent-Sellens, 2015. "Knowledge Products and Network Externalities: Implications for the Business Strategy," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 6(1), pages 138-156, March.
    9. Howell, Bronwyn & Obren, Mark, 2003. "Telecommunications Usage in New Zealand: 1993-2003," Working Paper Series 3886, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    10. Jermann, Urban J. & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2007. "Stock market boom and the productivity gains of the 1990s," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 413-432, March.
    11. Howell, Bronwyn & Obren, Mark, 2002. "Broadband Diffusion: Lags from Vintage Capital, Learning by Doing, Information Barriers and Network Effects," Working Paper Series 3896, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    12. Pakko Michael R., 2005. "Changing Technology Trends, Transition Dynamics, and Growth Accounting," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-42, December.
    13. Díaz Chao, A., 2003. "El efecto de las tecnologías digitales en la competitividad de la empresa española./The effect of digital technologies in the spanish firm competitivenses," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 21, pages 521-534, December.
    14. Luboš Pástor & Pietro Veronesi, 2009. "Technological Revolutions and Stock Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1451-1483, September.
    15. Kaiji Chen & Zheng Song & Yikai Wang, 2010. "Precautionary corporate liquidity," IEW - Working Papers 465, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    16. Eliasson, Gunnar & Johansson, Dan & Taymaz, Erol, 2004. "Simulating the New Economy," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 289-314, September.
    17. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2008. "Mergers as Reallocation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 765-776, November.
    18. Zheng Song & Kaiji Chen, 2007. "Capital Reallocation, Productivity, and Expectation-Driven Business Cycles," 2007 Meeting Papers 512, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Katsuya Takii, 2004. "Entrepreneurial Efficiency: An Empirical Framework and Evidence," Macroeconomics 0411006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Schiff, Maurice & Wang, Yanling, 2004. "On the quantity and quality of knowledge - the impact of openness and foreign research and development on North-North and North-South technology spillovers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3190, The World Bank.
    21. Krueger, Dirk & Kumar, Krishna B., 2004. "US-Europe differences in technology-driven growth: quantifying the role of education," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 161-190, January.
    22. Zhou, Kaile & Yang, Shanlin & Shao, Zhen, 2016. "Energy Internet: The business perspective," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 212-222.
    23. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 2000. "The IT revolution : is it evident in the productivity numbers?," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 49-78.
    24. Chen, Kaiji & Song, Zheng, 2007. "Financial Friction, Capital Reallocation and Expectation-Driven Business Cycles," MPRA Paper 3889, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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