An exploration of technology diffusion

Diego Comin, Bart Hobijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


We develop a model that, at the aggregate level, is similar to the one-sector neoclassical growth model; at the disaggregate level, it has implications for the path of observable measures of technology adoption. We estimate it using data on the diffusion of 15 technologies in 166 countries over the last two centuries. Our results reveal that, on average, countries have adopted technologies 45 years after their invention. There is substantial variation across technologies and countries. Newer technologies have been adopted faster than old ones. The cross-country variation in the adoption of technologies accounts for at least 25 percent of per capita income differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2031-2059
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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