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Lightning, IT Diffusion and Economic Growth Across US States

60 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2009  

Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Carl‐Johan Dalgaard

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Pablo Selaya

University of Copenhagen

Date Written: September 10, 2009

Abstract

Empirically, a higher frequency of lightning strikes is associated with slower growth in labor productivity across the 48 contiguous US states after 1990; before 1990 there is no correlation between growth and lightning. Other climate variables (e.g., temperature, rainfall and tornadoes) do not conform to this pattern. A viable explanation is that lightning influences IT diffusion. By causing voltage spikes and dips, a higher frequency of ground strikes leads to damaged digital equipment and thus higher IT user costs. Accordingly, the flash density (strikes per square km per year) should adversely affect the speed of IT diffusion. We find that lightning indeed seems to have slowed IT diffusion, conditional on standard controls. Hence, an increasing macroeconomic sensitivity to lightning may be due to the increasing importance of digital technologies for the growth process.

Keywords: climate, IT diffusion, economic growth

JEL Classification: O33, O51, Q54

Suggested Citation

Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck and Bentzen, Jeanet Sinding and Dalgaard, Carl‐Johan and Selaya, Pablo, Lightning, IT Diffusion and Economic Growth Across US States (September 10, 2009). University of Copenhagen Department of Economics Discussion Paper No. 09-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1474740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1474740

Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

Jeanet Bentzen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

Carl-Johan Lars Dalgaard (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark
+45 3532 4407 (Phone)

Pablo Selaya

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Department of Economics
Øster Farimagsgade 5
Copenhagen, 1353
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ku.dk/pabloselaya

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