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General Purpose Technologies

Author

Listed:
  • Peter L. Rousseau
  • Boyan Jovanovic

Abstract

This paper develops a set of criteria for identifying the arrival of a general purpose technology (GPT) and applies them to the electification and IT "revolutions" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The criteria suggest that a GPT should be 1) pervasive, 2) improving over time, and 3) able to spawn new innovations. We find that electrification was more pervasive than IT, while IT has a clear lead with respect to improvement and innovation spawning

Suggested Citation

  • Peter L. Rousseau & Boyan Jovanovic, 2004. "General Purpose Technologies," 2004 Meeting Papers 103, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    GPT; Electrification; IT revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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