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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
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  4. Devine, Warren D., 1983. "From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 347-372, June.
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  8. Greenwood, J. & Jovanovic, B., 1999. "The IT Revolution and the Stock Market," RCER Working Papers 460, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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