IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Looking Abroad, but Lagging Behind: How the World Technology Frontier Affects South Africa

  • Jørn Rattsø


    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Torfinn Harding

Industrial sector technology growth must be understood in the context of the international technology development. We study South African manufacturing industries and let the US represent the world technology frontier. The industrial sector linkages between domestic and frontier technology shocks are estimated using panel-data for the period 1970 – 1995. The results show that industrial performance in South Africa is related to the world technology frontier and consequently existing studies of technology overlooking the international context have omitted variable bias. We find that South Africa industries respond to the technology gap to the US, but that the industries are lagging behind. The analysis explains prolonged stagnation in this middle income country and rejects catching up to the frontier.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its series Working Paper Series with number 10209.

in new window

Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 16 Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:10209
Contact details of provider: Postal: 7491 Trondheim
Phone: 73 59 19 40
Fax: 73 59 69 54
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Torfinn Harding & Jørn Rattsø, 2009. "Industrial labor productivities and tariffs in South Africa. Identification based on multilateral liberalization reform," Discussion Papers 585, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  2. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "The World Technology Frontier," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 499-522, June.
  3. Jérôme Vandenbussche & Philippe Aghion & Costas Meghir, 2006. "Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 97-127, June.
  4. Griffith, Rachel & Redding, Stephen J. & Van Reenen, John, 2000. "Mapping The Two Faces Of R&D: Productivity Growth In A Panel Of OECD Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Robert E. Lucas, 2009. "Trade and the Diffusion of the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 1-25, January.
  6. Vandenbussche, Jérôme & Aghion, Philippe & Meghir, Costas, 2006. "Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital," Scholarly Articles 12490648, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "How does the border affect productivity? evidence from American and Canadian manufacturing industries," International Finance Discussion Papers 788, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Bernard, A.B. & Jones, C.I., 1993. "Productivity Across Industries and Countries: Time Series Theory and Evidence," Working papers 93-17, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Comin, D. & Hobijn, B., 2004. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 39-83, January.
  10. Philippe Aghion & Johannes Fedderke & Peter Howitt & Chandana Kularatne & Nicola Viegi, 2008. "Testing Creative Destruction in an Opening Economy: the Case of the South African Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 93, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  11. Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreira & JosÈ Luiz Rossi, 2003. "New Evidence from Brazil on Trade Liberalization and Productivity Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1383-1405, November.
  12. Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2004. "Externalities and Growth," NBER Working Papers 11009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Philippe Aghion & Matias Braun & Johannes Fedderke, 2008. "Competition and productivity growth in South Africa," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 741-768, October.
  14. Francisco Alcalá & Antonio Ciccone, 2004. "Trade and Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 612-645, May.
  15. Jess Benhabib & Mark M. Spiegel, 2002. "Human capital and technology diffusion," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  16. Hildegunn E. Stokke, 2008. "Productivity Growth and Organizational Learning," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 764-778, November.
  17. Cameron, Gavin & Proudman, James & Redding, Stephen, 2005. "Technological convergence, R&D, trade and productivity growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 775-807, April.
  18. Ngai, L. Rachel, 2004. "Barriers and the transition to modern growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1353-1383, October.
  19. Gavin Cameron, 2000. "The Sun Also Rises: Productivity Convergence Between Japan and the USA," Economics Series Working Papers 45, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  20. 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.
  21. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  22. Coleman, Wilbur II, 2004. "Comment on: "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 85-87, January.
  23. Papageorgiou, Chris, 2002. "Technology Adoption, Human Capital, and Growth Theory," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 351-68, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:10209. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marit Balstad Jensen)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Marit Balstad Jensen to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.