Working Paper | 2013

If Technology Has Arrived Everywhere, Why Has Income Diverged?

by Diego A. Comin and Marti Mestieri Ferrer


We study the lags with which new technologies are adopted across countries, and their long-run penetration rates once they are adopted. Using data from the last two centuries, we document two new facts: there has been convergence in adoption lags between rich and poor countries, while there has been divergence in penetration rates. Using a model of adoption and growth, we show that these changes in the pattern of technology diffusion account for 80% of the Great Income Divergence between rich and poor countries since 1820.

Keywords: Income Characteristics; Technology Adoption; Globalization;


Comin, Diego A., and Marti Mestieri Ferrer. "If Technology Has Arrived Everywhere, Why Has Income Diverged?" NBER Working Paper Series, No. 19010, May 2013.