The International Diffusion of New Technologies: A Multi-Technology Analysis of Latecomer Advantage and Global Economic Integration

Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Vol. 95, No. 4, 2005

54 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2004 Last revised: 29 Jun 2012

See all articles by Richard Perkins

Richard Perkins

University of Plymouth - School of Geography

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: December 1, 2004

Abstract

The diffusion of modern, efficient technology has far-reaching consequences for the geography of economic activity, inequality and environmental quality. This article examines two popular yet highly controversial claims about the conditions most favorable to the rapid spread of new technology. The first states that latecomer advantage allows developing countries to diffuse new technology faster than developed countries. The second claim, widely articulated by advocates of neo-liberal policy reform, is that new technologies diffuse more rapidly where countries are open to international trade and investment. To investigate these claims we use event-history analysis to estimate the determinants of diffusion speed across a large panel of developed and developing countries for three very different technologies. These are: continuous steel casting, shuttleless textile weaving looms and digital telephone mainlines. Our results broadly support both propositions. Countries which adopt new technology later or have a smaller existing capital stock - characteristic features of developing countries - diffuse new technology more rapidly than countries that adopt earlier or have more installed capacity - two characteristics of developed countries. Trade openness is also found to influence the rate of diffusion positively for all three technologies. Yet, consistent with recent empirical studies, we fail to find support for the idea that foreign direct investment (FDI) accelerates the diffusion of new technology in host economies. The paper concludes by discussing the geographical implications of our findings.

Keywords: Diffusion, globalization, industrialization, latecomer, technology

Suggested Citation

Perkins, Richard and Neumayer, Eric, The International Diffusion of New Technologies: A Multi-Technology Analysis of Latecomer Advantage and Global Economic Integration (December 1, 2004). Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Vol. 95, No. 4, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=560901

Richard Perkins

University of Plymouth - School of Geography ( email )

Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA
United Kingdom

Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer

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