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General Purpose Technologies

  • Peter L. Rousseau
  • Boyan Jovanovic

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

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 103.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:103
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  21. Peter L. Rousseau, 1999. "Share Liquidity and Industrial Growth in an Emerging Market: The Case of New England, 1854-1897," NBER Historical Working Papers 0117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Helpman, Elhanan & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 1994. "A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap: Growth Based on General Purpose Technologies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1080, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  36. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2002. "Mergers as Reallocation," NBER Working Papers 9279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
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