Article | American Economic Review | December 2010

An Exploration of Technology Diffusion

by Diego Comin and Bart Hobijn


We develop a model that, at the aggregate level, is similar to the one sector neoclassical growth model, while, at the disaggregate level, has implications for the path of observable measures of technology adoption. We estimate our model using data on the diffusion of 15 technologies in 166 countries over the last two centuries. We evaluate the implications of our estimates for aggregate TFP and per capita income. Our results reveal that, on average, countries have adopted technologies 47 years after their invention. There is substantial variation across technologies and countries. Over the past two centuries, newer technologies have been adopted faster than old ones. The cross-country variation in the adoption of technologies accounts for at least a quarter of per capita income differences.

Keywords: Business Model; Income; Technology Adoption; Macroeconomics; Innovation and Invention;


Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn. "An Exploration of Technology Diffusion." American Economic Review 100, no. 5 (December 2010): 2031–59.