Cross-Country Technology Adoption: Making the Theories Face the Facts

50 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2006

See all articles by Bart Hobijn

Bart Hobijn

ASU

Diego Comin

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2003

Abstract

We examine the diffusion of more than twenty technologies across twenty-three of the world's leading industrial economies. Our evidence covers major technology classes such as textile production, steel manufacture, communications, information technology, transportation, and electricity for the period 1788-2001. We document the common patterns observed in the diffusion of this broad range of technologies.

Our results suggest a pattern of trickle-down diffusion that is remarkably robust across technologies. Most of the technologies that we consider originate in advanced economies and are adopted there first. Subsequently, they trickle down to countries that lag economically. Our panel data analysis indicates that the most important determinants of the speed at which a country adopts technologies are the country's human capital endowment, type of government, degree of openness to trade, and adoption of predecessor technologies. We also find that the overall rate of diffusion has increased markedly since World War II because of the convergence in these variables across countries.

Keywords: economic growth, historical data, technology adoption

JEL Classification: N10, O30, O57

Suggested Citation

Hobijn, Bart and Comin, Diego, Cross-Country Technology Adoption: Making the Theories Face the Facts (June 2003). FRB NY Staff Report No. 169. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=892588 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.892588

Bart Hobijn (Contact Author)

ASU ( email )

501 E. Orange Street
Tempe, AZ 85287-9801
United States
(480)-965-0215 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.barthobijn.net

Diego Comin

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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