Diego Comin

Associate Professor of Business Administration (Leave of Absence)

Diego Comin is an Associate Professor of Business Administration at HBS since 2007. He received his B.A. in Economics in 1995 from the University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain and his PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 2000. Between 2000 and 2007, Comin has been Assistant Professor of Economics at New York University. He is also Research Fellow at the Center for Economic policy Research and Faculty Research Fellow in the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program. Comin is a fellow for the Institute of New Economic Thinking (INET) and his work has been supported by the Gates foundation, the National Science Foundation, the C.V. Star Foundation, and the Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW). Comin has also advised the government of Malaysia on its development strategies and consulted for the World Bank, IMF, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Citibank, Danish Science Ministry, and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) of the government of Japan. 

Comin works on macroeconomics broadly understood. Part of his research consists of studying the process of technological change and technology diffusion both across countries and over time. A second avenue of Comin’s work studies the sources and propagation mechanisms of fluctuations at high and medium term frequencies. A third line of research pursued by Comin has explored the evolution of firm dynamics and their implications for the evolution of the US economy. His work has been published mainly in academic journals, including the American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal, the Journal of Monetary Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Journal of Economic Growth

Comin teaches his elective course (Drivers of Competitiveness) in the MBA program and also a module in the executive program (Program for Leadership Development). For four years, Comin has taught in the MBA first year required course: Business, Government and the International Economy (BGIE). He has also designed and led immersion programs in Peru and Malaysia.

Featured Work

  1. Mapping Patterns of Technological Adoption Across Countries

  2. PRESENTATION BY MALAYSIA IXP TO PM NAJIB

  3. My data sets

    CHAT. The cross-country historical adoption (chat) dataset is an unbalanced panel dataset with information on the adoption of over 100 technologies in more than 150 countries since 1800. We discuss the main aim of CHAT, its scope and limitations, as well as several ways in which we have used the data so far and ways to potentially use the data for other research.

    Data   Documentation  Paper

    Primitive Technology. The primitive technology dataset measures at three points in history the presence of specific technologies in the territories that correspond to modern day countries. The periods covered are 1000 B.C., 0 A.D. and 1500 A.D. (i.e. right before the colonization). The technologies in the data set cover five wide sectors: agriculture, transportation, communication, military and industry.

    Data   Documentation  Paper

  4. Hotel Survey

    Survey directed to managers in the hotel industry to assess the factors that affect development and operation of hotels. If you're a hotel manager, I would appreciate that you take five minutes to fill it. 

    Survey

Publications

Journal Articles

  1. Medium Term Business Cycles in Developing Countries

    Business cycle fluctuations in developed economies (N) tend to have large and persistent effects on developing countries (S). We study the transmission of business cycle fluctuations for developed to developing economies with a two-country asymmetric DSGE model with two features: (i) endogenous and slow diffusion of technologies from the developed to the developing country, and (ii) adjustment costs to investment flows. Consistent with the model we observe that the flow of technologies from N to S co-moves positively with output in both N and S. After calibrating the model to Mexico and the U.S., it can explain the following stylized facts: (i) shocks to N have a large effect on S; (ii) business cycles in N lead over medium term fluctuations in S; (iii) the outputs in S and N co-move more than their consumption; and (iv) interest rates in S are counter-cyclical.

    Keywords: Cycles in Developing Countries; Co-movement between Developed and Developing economies; Volatility; Extensive Margin of Trade; product life cycle; FDI; Emerging Markets; Business Cycles; International Relations;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Norman Loayza, Farooq Pasha, and Luis Serven. "Medium Term Business Cycles in Developing Countries." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics (forthcoming).
  2. How Early Adoption Has Increased Wealth--Until Now

    Societies that are better at utilizing tools are likely to be more productive. The authors have studied when 161 countries adopted 104 technologies over the past 200 years, and they conclude that profound economic advantages-as measured by per capita income-accrue to early adopters of technology.

    Keywords: Technology Adoption; Wealth; Development Economics; Performance Productivity; Competitive Advantage;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn. "How Early Adoption Has Increased Wealth--Until Now." Harvard Business Review 90, no. 3 (March 2012): 34–35.
  3. Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth

    In the aftermath of World War II, the world's economies exhibited very different rates of economic recovery. We provide evidence that those countries that caught up the most with the U.S. in the postwar period are those that saw an acceleration in the speed of adopting new technologies. This acceleration is correlated with the incidence of U.S. economic aid and technical assistance in the same period. We interpret this as supportive of the interpretation that technology transfers from the U.S. to Western European countries and Japan were an important factor in driving growth in these recipient countries during the postwar decades.

    Keywords: Hardware; Country; Business Cycles; Globalized Economies and Regions; Economic Growth; Welfare or Wellbeing; War; Technology Industry; United States; Japan; Europe;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Bart Hobijn. "Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth." NBER Macroeconomics Annual 25 (2011): 209–259.
  4. An Exploration of Technology Diffusion

    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 Characteristics; Technology Adoption; Macroeconomics; Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn. "An Exploration of Technology Diffusion." American Economic Review 100, no. 5 (December 2010): 2031–59.
  5. Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?

    We assemble a dataset on technology adoption in 1000 B.C., 0 A.D., and 1500 A.D. for the predecessors to today's nation states. We find that this very old history of technology adoption is surprisingly significant for today's national development outcomes. Our strong and robust results are for 1500 A.D. determining per capita income today. We find technological persistence across long epochs: from 1000 B.C. to 0 A.D., from 0 A.D. to 1500 A.D., and from 1500 A..D to the present. Although the data allow only some suggestive tests of rival hypotheses to explain long-run technological persistence, we find the evidence to be most consistent with a model of endogenous technology adoption where the cost of adopting new technologies declines sufficiently with the current level of adoption. The evidence is less consistent with a dominant role for population as predicted by the semi-endogenous growth models or for country-level factors like culture, genes, or institutions.

    Keywords: Cost Accounting; Technology; Technology Adoption; Growth and Development; Adoption; Business Strategy; Cost; Cost Management; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Culture; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Bill Easterly, and Erick Gong. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?" American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 2, no. 3 (2010): 65–97.
  6. A Theory of Growth and Volatility at the Aggregate and Firm Level

    This paper presents an endogenous growth model that explains the evolution of the first and second moments of productivity growth at the aggregate and firm level during the post-war period. Growth is driven by the development of both (i) idiosyncratic R&D innovations and (ii) general innovations that can be freely adopted by many firms. Firm-level volatility is affected primarily by the Schumpeterian dynamics associated with the development of R&D innovations. On the other hand, the variance of aggregate productivity growth is determined mainly by the arrival rate of general innovations. Ceteris paribus, the share of resources spent on development of general innovations, increases with the stability of the market share of the industry leader. As market shares become less persistent, the model predicts an endogenous shift in the allocation of resources from the development of general innovations to the development of R&D innovations. This results in an increase in R&D, an increase in firm-level volatility, and a decline in aggregate volatility. The effect on productivity growth is ambiguous. On the empirical side, this paper documents an upward trend in the instability of market shares. It shows that firm volatility is positively associated with R&D spending, and that R&D is negatively associated with the correlation of growth between sectors which leads to a decline in aggregate volatility.

    Keywords: Volatility; Microeconomics; Innovation and Invention; Growth and Development Strategy; Resource Allocation; Performance Productivity; Mathematical Methods; Research and Development;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Sunil Mulani. "A Theory of Growth and Volatility at the Aggregate and Firm Level." Journal of Monetary Economics 56, no. 8 (November 2009): 1023–1042.
  7. Testing the Commitment Hypothesis in Contractual Settings: Evidence from Soccer

    This paper designs and implements an empirical test to discern whether the parties to a contract are able to commit not to renegotiate their agreement. We study optimal contracts with and without commitment and derive an exclusion restriction that is useful to identify the relevant commitment scenario. The empirical analysis takes advantage of a data set on Spanish soccer player contracts. Our test rejects the commitment hypothesis. We argue that our conclusions should hold a fortiori in many other economic environments.

    Keywords: Contracts; Agreements and Arrangements; Research; Sports Industry; Spain;

    Citation:

    Carbonell, Oriol, and Diego A. Comin. "Testing the Commitment Hypothesis in Contractual Settings: Evidence from Soccer." Art. 1. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports 5, no. 4 (October 2009).
  8. Lobbies and Technology Diffusion

    This paper explores whether lobbies slow down technology diffusion. To answer this question, we exploit the differential effect of various institutional attributes that should affect the costs of erecting barriers when the new technology has a technologically close predecessor but not otherwise. We implement this test using a data set that covers the diffusion of 20 technologies for 23 countries over the past two centuries. We find that each of the relevant institutional variables that affect the costs of erecting barriers has a significantly larger effect on the diffusion of technologies with a competing predecessor technology than when no such technology exists. These effects are quantitatively important. Thus, we conclude that lobbies are an important barrier to technology adoption and to development.

    Keywords: Technology Adoption; Cost; Problems and Challenges; Knowledge Dissemination; Competition;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn. "Lobbies and Technology Diffusion." Review of Economics and Statistics 91, no. 2 (May 2009): 229–244.
  9. On the Integration of Growth and Business Cycles

    Keywords: Integration; Growth and Development;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "On the Integration of Growth and Business Cycles." Empirica 36, no. 2 (May 2009).
  10. Turbulent Firms, Turbulent Wages?

    Has greater turbulence among firms fueled rising wage instability in the U.S.? Gottschalk and Moffitt [1994] find that rising earnings instability was responsible for one third to one half of the rise in wage inequality during the 1980s. These growing transitory fluctuations remain largely unexplained. To help fill this gap, this paper further documents the recent rise in transitory fluctuations in compensation and investigates its linkage to the concurrent rise in volatility of firm performance documented by Comin and Mulani [2006]. We find strong support for the hypothesis that rising high-frequency turbulence in the sales of large publicly-traded U.S. firms over the past three decades has raised their workers' high-frequency wage volatility. The evidence comes from two data sets: the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (detailed longitudinal information on workers), and COMPUSTAT (detailed firm information, plus average wage and employment levels). Through controls and instrumental variable probes, we rule out straightforward compositional churning as an explanation for the link between firm sales and wage volatility. We also observe that the relationship between sales and wage volatility at the firm level is stronger since 1980, is present only in large companies and is stronger in services than in manufacturing companies.

    Keywords: Wages; Production; Business Earnings; Fluctuation; Performance; Volatility; Relationships; Sales; Business Ventures; United States;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Erica L. Groshen, and Bess Rabin. "Turbulent Firms, Turbulent Wages?" Journal of Monetary Economics 56, no. 1 (January 2009).
  11. Technology Usage Lags

    We present evidence on the differences in the intensity with which ten major technologies are used in 185 countries across the world. We do so by calculating how many years ago these technologies were used in the U.S. at the same intensity as they are used in the countries in our sample. We denote these time lags as technology usage lags and compare them with lags in real GDP per capita. We find that (i) technology usage lags are large, often comparable to lags in real GDP per capita, (ii) usage lags are highly correlated with lags in per-capita income, and (iii) usage lags are highly correlated across technologies. The productivity differentials between the state of the art technologies that we consider and the ones they replace combined with the usage lags that we document, lead us to infer that technology usage disparities might account for a large part of cross-country TFP differentials.

    Keywords: Technology Adoption; Global Range; Economy; Relationships; Performance Productivity; United States;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Bart Hobijn, and Emilie Rovito. "Technology Usage Lags." Journal of Economic Growth 13, no. 4 (December 2008).
  12. A New Approach to Measuring Technology with an Application to the Shape of Diffusion Curves

    This paper documents the sources and measures of the cross-country historical adoption technology (CHAT) data set that covers the diffusion of about 115 technologies in over 150 countries over the last 200 years. We use this comprehensive data set to explore the shape of the diffusion curves. Our main finding is that, once the intensive margin is measured, technologies do not diffuse in a logistic way.

    Keywords: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Measurement and Metrics; Technology Adoption; Logistics; Knowledge Dissemination;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, Bart Hobijn, and Emilie Rovito. "A New Approach to Measuring Technology with an Application to the Shape of Diffusion Curves." Journal of Technology Transfer 33, no. 2 (April 2008).
  13. Medium-term Business Cycles

    Over the postwar period, many industrialized countries have experienced significant medium-frequency oscillations between periods of robust growth versus relative stagnation. Conventional business cycle filters, however, tend to sweep these oscillations into the trend. In this paper we explore whether they may, instead, reflect a persistent response of economic activity to the high-frequency fluctuations normally associated with the cycle. We define as the medium-term cycle the sum of the high and medium-frequency variation in the data, and then show that these kinds of fluctuations are substantially more volatile and persistent than are the conventional measures. These fluctuations, further, feature significant procyclical movements in both embodied and disembodied technological change, and research and development (R&D), as well as the efficiency and intensity of resource utilization. We then develop a model of medium-term business cycles. A virtue of the framework is that, in addition to offering a unified approach to explaining the high- and medium-frequency variation in the data, it fully endogenizes the movements in productivity that appear central to the persistence of these fluctuations. For comparison, we also explore how well an exogenous productivity model can explain the facts.

    Keywords: Business Cycles; Fluctuation; Technology; Research and Development; Resource Allocation; Framework; Trends; Performance Efficiency; Performance Productivity;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Mark Gertler. "Medium-term Business Cycles." American Economic Review (June 2006).
  14. Diverging Trends in Macro and Micro Volatility

    This paper documents the diverging trends in volatility of the growth rate of sales at the aggregate and firm level. We establish that the upward trend in micro volatility is not simply driven by a compositional bias in the sample studied. We argue that this new fact sheds some shadows on the proposed explanations for the decline in aggregate volatility and that, given the symmetry of the diverging trends at the micro and macro level, a common explanation is likely. We conclude by describing one such theory.

    Keywords: Volatility; Mathematical Methods; Theory; Sales; Growth and Development;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Sunil Mulani. "Diverging Trends in Macro and Micro Volatility." Review of Economics and Statistics (May 2006).
  15. Using Investment Behavior to Assess the Pervasiveness of Price Mismeasurement

    Keywords: Investment; Behavior; Measurement and Metrics; Price;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "Using Investment Behavior to Assess the Pervasiveness of Price Mismeasurement." Topics in Macroeconomics 6, no. 1 (2006).
  16. The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences

    We document that the recent decline in aggregate volatility has been accompanied by a large increase in firm level risk. The negative relationship between firm and aggregate risk seems to be present across industries in the US, and across OECD countries. Firm volatility increases after deregulation. Firm volatility is linked to research and development spending as well as access to external financing. Further, R&D intensity is also associated with lower correlation of sectoral growth with the rest of the economy.

    Keywords: Volatility; Risk Management; Relationships; Research and Development; Financing and Loans; Industry Growth; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Economy; Outcome or Result; United States;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Thomas Philippon. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences." NBER Macroeconomics Annual 20 (2005). (Read an article about this paper in The Washington Post, Newsweek and The Charlotte Observer.)
  17. R&D: A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth

    In this paper I evaluate the contribution of R&D investments to productivity growth. The basis for the analysis are the free entry condition and the fact that most R&D innovations are embodied. Free entry yields a relationship between the resources devoted to R&D and the growth rate of technology. Since innovators are small, this relationship is not directly affected by the size of R&D externalities, or the presence of aggregate diminishing returns in R&D after controlling for the growth rate of output and the interest rate. The embodiment of R&D-driven innovations bounds the size of the production externalities. The resulting contribution of R&D to productivity growth in the US is smaller than three to five tenths of one percentage point. This constitutes an upper bound for the case where innovators internalize the consequences of their R&D investments on the cost of conducting future innovations. From a normative perspective, this analysis implies that, if the innovation technology takes the form assumed in the literature, the actual US R&D intensity may be the socially optimal.

    Keywords: Research and Development; Investment; Interest Rates; Performance Productivity; Technological Innovation; Perspective; United States;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "R&D: A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth." Journal of Economic Growth (December 2004). (This paper was featured in BusinessWeek and Il Corriere Della Sera.)
  18. Cross-country Technological Adoption: Making the Theories Face the Facts

    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: Technology Adoption; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Development Economics; Human Capital; Government and Politics; Trade; Production; Information Technology; Steel Industry; Communications Industry;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn. "Cross-country Technological Adoption: Making the Theories Face the Facts." Journal of Monetary Economics (January 2004).
  19. Comment to James Bessen's 'Technology Adoption Costs and Productivity Growth: The 70s as a Technological Revolution'

    Keywords: History; Cost; Technology Adoption; Growth and Development;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "Comment to James Bessen's 'Technology Adoption Costs and Productivity Growth: The 70s as a Technological Revolution'." Review of Economic Dynamics 5, no. 2 (April 2002): 470–476.
  20. Convergence in Health: Dream or Reality?

    Keywords: Health;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "Convergence in Health: Dream or Reality?" Gaceta Sanitaria 11 (1997).

Working Papers

  1. From Green Users to Green Voters

    We estimate the effect of the diffusion of photovoltaic (PV) systems on the fraction of votes obtained by the German Green Party. The logistic diffusion of PV systems offers a new identification strategy. We take first differences and instrument adoption rates (i.e. the first difference in the diffusion level) by lagged diffusion levels. The existing rationales for non-linearities in diffusion, and ubiquity of logistic curves ensure that our instrument is orthogonal to variables that directly affect voting patterns. We find that the diffusion of domestic PV systems caused 25 percent of the increment in green votes between 1998 and 2009.

    Keywords: Voting; Political Elections; Technology Adoption; Environmental Sustainability; Green Technology Industry; Public Administration Industry; Germany;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Johannes Rode. "From Green Users to Green Voters." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 19219, July 2013.
  2. If Technology Has Arrived Everywhere, Why Has Income Diverged?

    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;

    Citation:

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

    We empirically study technology diffusion across countries and over time. We find significant evidence that technology diffuses slower to locations that are farther away from adoption leaders. This effect is stronger across rich countries and also when measuring distance along the south-north dimension. A simple theory of human interactions can account for these empirical findings. The theory suggests that the effect of distance should vanish over time, a hypothesis that we confirm in the data and that distinguishes technology from other flows like goods or investments. We then structurally estimate the model. The parameter governing the frequency of interactions is larger for newer and network-based technologies, and for the median technology, the frequency of interactions decays by 73% every 1000 kms. Overall, we document the significant role that geography plays in determining technology diffusion across countries.

    Keywords: Economic Growth; Knowledge Dissemination; Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Mikhail Dmitriev, and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg. "The Spatial Diffusion of Technology." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 18534, November 2012.
  4. Technology Innovation and Diffusion as Sources of Output and Asset Price Fluctuations

    We develop a model in which innovations in an economy's growth potential are an important driving force of the business cycle. The framework shares the emphasis of the recent "new shock" literature on revisions of beliefs about the future as a source of fluctuations, but differs by tieing these beliefs to fundamentals of the evolution of the technology frontier. An important feature of the model is that the process of moving to the frontier involves costly technology adoption. In this way, news of improved growth potential has a positive effect on current hours. As we show, the model also has reasonable implications for stock prices. We estimate our model for data post-1984 and show that the innovations shock accounts for nearly a third of the variation in output at business cycle frequencies. The estimated model also accounts reasonably well for the large gyration in stock prices over this period. Finally, the endogenous adoption mechanism plays a significant role in amplifying other shocks.

    Keywords: Business Cycles; Economic Growth; Asset Pricing; Technological Innovation; Mathematical Methods; System Shocks; Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Mark Gertler, and Ana Maria Santacreu. "Technology Innovation and Diffusion as Sources of Output and Asset Price Fluctuations." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 09-134, May 2009. (Revise and Resubmit at the Journal of Political Economy.)
  5. Medium Term Business Cycles in Developing Countries

    We build a two-country asymmetric DSGE model with two features: (i) endogenous and slow diffusion of technologies from the developed to the developing country, and (ii) adjustment costs to investment flows. We calibrate the model to match the Mexico-U.S. trade and FDI flows. The model is able to explain the following stylized facts: (i) U.S. and Mexican output co-move more than consumption; (ii) U.S. shocks have a larger effect on Mexico than in the U.S.; (iii) U.S. business cycles lead over medium term fluctuations in Mexico; (iv) Mexican consumption is more volatile than output.

    Keywords: Business Cycles; Developing Countries and Economies; Trade; International Finance; Foreign Direct Investment; Mathematical Methods; Mexico; United States;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Norman Loayza, Farooq Pasha, and Luis Serven. "Medium Term Business Cycles in Developing Countries." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 10-029, October 2009. (Revise and resubmit at the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.)
  6. Implementing Technology

    We introduce a tractable model of endogenous growth in which the returns to innovation are determined by the technology adoption decisions of the users of new technologies. Technology adoption involves an implementation investment that determines the initial productivity of a new technology. After implementation, learning increases the productivity of a technology to its full potential. In this framework, implementation enhances growth, while growth increases obsolescence and reduces implementation. In a calibrated version of our model, the optimal policy involves a subsidy to capital and to implementation and a R&D tax. This policy would lead to a welfare improvement of 7.6 percent. Out of steady-state analysis yields that the transitional dynamics of the detrended variables after a shock to capital are very similar to the dynamics of the neoclassical growth model, but transitory shocks have permanent effects on the level of productivity.

    Keywords: Learning; Investment; Investment Return; Innovation and Invention; Growth and Development Strategy; Performance Productivity; Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, and Bart Hobijn. "Implementing Technology." November 2007. (Revise and resubmit at the Journal of Economic Theory.)
  7. When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?

    Can a country grow faster by saving more? We address this question both theoretically and empirically. In our theoretical model, growth results from innovations that allow local sectors to catch up with frontier technology. In poor countries, catching up requires the cooperation of a foreign investor who is familiar with the frontier technology and a domestic entrepreneur who is familiar with local conditions. In such a country, domestic saving matters for innovation, and therefore growth, because it enables the local entrepreneur to put equity into this cooperative venture, which mitigates an agency problem that would otherwise deter the foreign investor from participating. In rich countries, domestic entrepreneurs are already familiar with frontier technology and therefore do not need to attract foreign investment to innovate, so domestic saving does not matter for growth. A cross-country regression shows that lagged savings is positively associated with productivity growth in poor countries but not in rich countries. The same result is found when the regression is run on data generated by a calibrated version of our theoretical model.

    Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Economic Growth; Entrepreneurship; Foreign Direct Investment; Saving; Technological Innovation; Mathematical Methods;

    Citation:

    Aghion, Philippe, Diego A. Comin, Peter Howitt, and Isabel Tecu. "When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?" Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 09-080, January 2009.
  8. An Exploration of Luxury Hotels in Tanzania

    Tourism is a tradable service activity that could allow some African countries to generate significant growth. Tanzania, given its unique natural assets, is an ideal candidate. However, despite being so richly endowed in touristic resources, Tanzania receives very few tourists and revenues from tourism. To explore the determinants of this performance, I conduct an international survey for upscale hotel managers to measure supply-side constraints on the operation of hotels. The survey reveals that hotels in the safari area in Tanzania are more expensive than comparable hotels, and that this difference in price cannot be accounted for by differences in supply constraints. Further, using cross-country panel data, I show that upscale hotel prices account for a significant fraction of cross-country differences in tourists.

    Keywords: Natural Environment; Business Ventures; Luxury; Revenue; Price; Developing Countries and Economies; Accommodations Industry; Tourism Industry; Tanzania;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "An Exploration of Luxury Hotels in Tanzania." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 17902, March 2012.
  9. The CHAT Dataset

    This note accompanies the Cross‐country Historical Adoption of Technology (CHAT) dataset. CHAT is an unbalanced panel dataset with information on the adoption of over 100 technologies in more than 150 countries since 1800. The data is available for download at: http://www.nber.org/data/chat. We discuss the main aim of CHAT, its scope and limitations, as well as several ways in which we have used the data so far and ways to potentially use the data for other research. Suggested acknowledgment: If you use the CHAT dataset for your research, please include the following citation: "Our technology measures come from the CHAT data set which is an extension of the data set described in Comin and Hobijn (2004)."

    Keywords: Geographic Location; History; Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Bart Hobijn. "The CHAT Dataset." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 10-035, November 2009.
  10. Five Facts You Need to Know about Technology Diffusion

    Keywords: Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, Bart Hobijn, and Emilie Rovito. "Five Facts You Need to Know about Technology Diffusion." July 2007.

Book Chapters

  1. Technology Diffusion: Measurement, Causes and Consequences

    This chapter discusses different approaches pursued to explore three broad questions related to technology diffusion: what general patterns characterize the diffusion of technologies, and how have they changed over time; what are the key drivers of technology, and what are the macroeconomic consequences of technology. We prioritize in our discussion unified approaches to these three questions that are based on direct measures of technology.

    Keywords: Measurement and Metrics; Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Marti Mestieri. "Technology Diffusion: Measurement, Causes and Consequences." In Handbook of Economic Growth, edited by Philippe Aghion and Steven Durlauf. Elsevier, forthcoming.
  2. The Intensive Margin of Technology Adoption

    We present a tractable model for analyzing the relationship between economic growth and the intensive and extensive margins of technology adoption. The "extensive" margin refers to the timing of a country's adoption of a new technology; the "intensive" margin refers to how many units are adopted (for a given size economy). At the aggregate level, our model is isomorphic to a neoclassical growth model, while at the microeconomic level it features adoption of firms at the extensive and the intensive margin. Based on a data set of 15 technologies and 166 countries our estimations of the model yield four main findings: (1) there are large cross-country differences in the intensive margin of adoption; (2) differences in the intensive margin vary substantially across technologies; (3) the cross-country dispersion of adoption lags has declined over time while the cross-country dispersion in the intensive margin has not; and (4) the cross-country variation in the intensive margin of adoption accounts for more than 40% of the variation in income per capita.

    Keywords: Economic Growth; Microeconomics; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Data and Data Sets; Growth and Development Strategy; Relationships; Technology Adoption;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "The Intensive Margin of Technology Adoption." In Handbook of Economic Growth, edited by Philippe Aghion and Steven Durlauf. Elsevier, forthcoming.
  3. An Exploration of the Japanese Slowdown during the 1990s

    Why was the 1990s a lost decade for Japan? How is it possible that the Japanese economy stagnated for a decade if none of the shocks that arguably hit the economy seemed to have persisted for much more than three years or so? In this paper I show that the endogenous development and adoption of technologies can propagate these shocks making their effect much more persistent. When feeding the markup shocks observed in Japan during the early 1990s, the model is able to generate time series for output, TFP, employment, consumption and investment that track closely the actual data. In particular, the productivity slowdown in the model is as protracted as in the data. Reassuringly, I also find evidence that, as predicted by the model, the speed of technology diffusion slowed down in Japan during the 1990s and R&D expenditures also stopped growing.

    Keywords: Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Performance Productivity; Mathematical Methods; Research and Development; Technology Adoption; Japan;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "An Exploration of the Japanese Slowdown during the 1990s." In Japan's Bubble, Deflation, and Long-term Stagnation, edited by Koichi Hamada, Anil Kashyap, and David Weinstein. MIT Press, 2011.
  4. Total Factor Productivity

    Total Factor Productivity (TFP) is the portion of output not explained by the amount of inputs used in production. The following definition describes the measurement and importance of TFP for growth, fluctuations and development as well as likely future directions of research.

    Keywords: Business Cycles; Economic Growth; Measurement and Metrics; Production; Performance Productivity; Research;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "Total Factor Productivity." In The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. 2nd ed. Edited by Steven Derlauf and Larry Blume. Hampshire, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
  5. The Harrod-Domar Model

    Keywords: Mathematical Methods; Economic Growth; Development Economics; Capital;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "The Harrod-Domar Model." In An Eponymous Dictionary of Economics, edited by C. R. Braun and Julio Segura. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2004.

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Malaysia: Standing on a Single Leaf

    The case discusses the development of palm oil in Malaysia. This experience provides important insights about when and how government intervention can be successful in developing new sectors in the economy.

    Keywords: Malaysia; industrial policy; Agriculture; palm oil; innovation; plantations; Plant-Based Agribusiness; Business and Government Relations; Innovation and Invention; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Malaysia;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, Maurice Kuykendoll, and Monne Williams. "Malaysia: Standing on a Single Leaf." Harvard Business School Case 713-007, October 2012.
  2. CoET: Innovation in Africa

    Keywords: innovation; developing countries; technology commercialization; entrepreneurship; Africa; technology diffusion; Tanzania;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, Diana Dimitrova, and Yukiko Tsukamoto. "CoET: Innovation in Africa." Harvard Business School Case 713-021, September 2012.
  3. Inkaterra

    The case presents the unique business model of Inkaterra, a leading eco-tourism organization in Peru, and the different strategies the company can pursue to grow. Through the experience of Inkaterra the case studies two general issues. First, it discusses the potential barriers that exist for the development of the tourism sector. Second, it presents the debate of whether governments may want to use tourism as an engine of growth, and if so, what is the best strategy to preserve the environment.

    Keywords: Inkaterra; ecotourism; tourism; environment; Peru; informal sector; regulation; economic development; bottom of the pyramid; technology diffusion; competitiveness; Business Model; Growth and Development Strategy; Natural Environment; Market Entry and Exit; Conflict Management; Tourism Industry; Peru;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego, Rohan Gopaldas, and Diego Rehder. "Inkaterra." Harvard Business School Case 713-022, September 2012. (Revised September 2012.)
  4. Egypt: Turbulence, and Transition?

    The case goes over the evolution of politics and institutions in Egypt over the last 50 years. The case provides new insights on the reasons for violent political transitions and also explores the effects of political instability on productivity and competitiveness.

    Keywords: institutional change; military; competitiveness; democracy; revolution; productivity; Egypt;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Mohamed Heikal, and Adam Said. "Egypt: Turbulence, and Transition?" Harvard Business School Case 713-014, August 2012.
  5. Malaysia: The Economic Transformation Program (B)

    Keywords: Economic Transformation Program; productivity growth; new economic model; Najiv; Idris Jala; Malaysia;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Ku Kok Peng. "Malaysia: The Economic Transformation Program (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 713-008, September 2012. (Revised February 2013.)
  6. South Africa (A): Stuck in the Middle?

    Fifteen years after ending apartheid, formal unemployment in South Africa was still at 24%. While the country had grown at 4 to 5% annually during the 2000s, the financial crisis set it back by 1 million more unemployed. Moreover, it seemed as if the nation were stuck between low wage and fully developed competitors. The government of Jacob Zuma has just adopted a "New Growth Path," hoping to create several million jobs over the next few years. Both the Finance Minister and the head of the Central Bank support the initiative, but worry how they can sustain fiscal discipline and control inflation, in light of these stimulative policies. Organized labor, meanwhile, has little sympathy for any sort of sacrifice.

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Inflation and Deflation; Policy; Employment; Wages; Competition; South Africa;

    Citation:

    Vietor, Richard H. K., and Diego Comin. "South Africa (A): Stuck in the Middle?" Harvard Business School Case 711-084, April 2011. (Revised May 2013.)
  7. China 'Unbalanced'

    In 2010, Wen Jiabao looked back at the financial crisis with some satisfaction. Using aggressive fiscal and monetary policy, China had weathered the crisis successfully, growing 8.7% annually in 2010. Most of the unemployed workers had returned to work, often demonstrating for higher wages or better working conditions. Wen, however, was really focused on his new development strategy—shifting away from export-led growth to ease domestic and international pressures. But many institutional challenges seemed to hamper domestic demand, and Wen was particularly concerned with pressures from America, on China's policies for trade, exchange rates, energy and investment.

    Keywords: Economic Growth; Financial Crisis; Trade; Currency Exchange Rate; Investment; Local Range; Growth and Development Strategy; Demand and Consumers; China;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Richard H.K. Vietor. "China 'Unbalanced'." Harvard Business School Case 711-010, July 2010. (Revised March 2012.)
  8. Malaysia IXP: Stuck in the Middle

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "Malaysia IXP: Stuck in the Middle." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 712-041, March 2012.
  9. Spain: Can the House Resist the Storm? (TN)

    Teaching Note for [709021].

    Keywords: Spain;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "Spain: Can the House Resist the Storm? (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 710-026, October 2009. (Revised March 2012.)
  10. Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany (TN)

    Teaching Note for 711022.

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Germany;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and J. Gunnar Trumbull. "Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-063, March 2011. (Revised March 2012.)
  11. China "Unbalanced" (TN)

    Teaching Note for 711010.

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Growth and Development Strategy; Demand and Consumers; Policy; Trade; Currency Exchange Rate; Energy; Investment; China; United States;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Richard H.K. Vietor. China "Unbalanced" (TN). Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-028, September 2010. (Revised March 2012.)
  12. Drivers of Productivity and Global Competitiveness

    Keywords: Trade; Performance Productivity; Global Range;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego. "Drivers of Productivity and Global Competitiveness." Harvard Business School Module Note 712-037, February 2012. (Revised March 2012.)
  13. Spain: Can the House Resist the Storm?

    On September 16, 2008, President Rodriguez Zapatero recognized the severity of Spain's macroeconomic situation and clearly pointed to the culprit in front of the Spanish Congress: "Let nobody doubt it; there is already a wide consensus about the origin of the crisis: [It is] in the U.S. and its subprime mortgages." During the last eight years, Spain had gone through a phenomenal expansion that has had many important ingredients: immigration, housing boom, banking and financial market regulation, current account deficit, and productivity growth. This case analyzes how they interacted during the period 2000-2007 and what drove the Spanish recession in 2008.

    Keywords: Business Cycles; Economy; Financial Crisis; Macroeconomics; System Shocks; Spain;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "Spain: Can the House Resist the Storm?" Harvard Business School Case 709-021, January 2009. (Revised March 2012.)
  14. Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany

    Fraunhofer is one of the largest applied research organizations in the world. With 17,000 employees and a 1.6 billion euros budget, Fraunhofer has 60 institutes in Germany that cover most fields of science. The case examines the consequences that Fraunhofer has for the competitiveness of the German economy. It also explores whether the organization of R&D is affected by the size distribution of firms as well as by institutions in labor and financial markets.

    Keywords: Economy; Entrepreneurship; Financial Markets; Government and Politics; Labor; Markets; Outcome or Result; Research and Development; Competitive Strategy; Germany;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., J. Gunnar Trumbull, and Kerry Yang. "Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany." Harvard Business School Case 711-022, March 2011. (Revised March 2012.)
  15. Malaysia: People First?

    On March 30, 2010, Prime Minister Najib Razak presented his new economic model (NEM) for Malaysia. With the goal of raising per capita income to over $15,000 by 2020 from the current level of $6,634, the plan included measures to improve human capital, reduce migration and privatize inefficient government linked corporations (GLCs). However, the most controversial part of the NEM was the dismantling of the new economic policy (NEP), an affirmative action program for native Malays that had alleviated racial tensions and reduced inter-racial income inequality over the previous 40 years though, some argued, at the cost of fostering corruption.

    Keywords: Globalized Economies and Regions; Problems and Challenges; Crime and Corruption; Developing Countries and Economies; Development Economics; Emerging Markets; Transformation; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Wealth and Poverty; Equality and Inequality; Malaysia;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and John Abraham. "Malaysia: People First?" Harvard Business School Case 710-033, April 2010. (Revised September 2011.)
  16. South Africa (B): Getting Unstuck?

    15 years after ending apartheid, formal unemployment in South Africa was still at 24%. While the country had grown at 4 to 5% annually during the 2000s, the financial crisis set it back by 1 million more unemployed. Moreover, it seemed as if the nation were stuck between low wage and fully developed competitors. The government of Jacob Zuma has just adopted a "New Growth Path," hoping to create several million jobs over the next few years. Both the Finance Minister and the head of the Central Bank support the initiative, but worry how they can sustain fiscal discipline and control inflation, in light of these stimulative policies. Organized labor, meanwhile, has little sympathy for any sort of sacrifice.

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Inflation and Deflation; Policy; Employment; Wages; Competition; South Africa;

    Citation:

    Vietor, Richard H. K., and Diego Comin. "South Africa (B): Getting Unstuck?" Harvard Business School Supplement 711-085, April 2011. (Revised December 2012.)
  17. Fraunhofer: Five Significant Innovations

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., J. Gunnar Trumbull, and Kerry Yang. "Fraunhofer: Five Significant Innovations." Harvard Business School Supplement 711-058, March 2011.
  18. Business Cycles and the New Challenges of Globalization

    Business Cycles and the New Challenges of Globalization is one of the core modules in Business Government and the International Economy (BGIE), a course for the required curriculum of the Harvard Business School. BGIE teaches the economic, political and historical context in which businesses operate. The readings and cases in this module have been selected to provide students with two sets of concepts: (i) a framework to understand business cycle fluctuations and how these are propagated both domestically and internationally; and (ii) an exploration of the new challenges of globalization that result from the growth in trade and international capital flows as well as from the ascent of China.

    Keywords: Fluctuation; Business Cycles; Trade; Business Education; Curriculum and Courses; Capital; Cash Flow; Globalization; Problems and Challenges; China;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "Business Cycles and the New Challenges of Globalization." Harvard Business School Module Note 711-064, February 2011.
  19. Malaysia: People First? (TN)

    Teaching Note for 710033.

    Keywords: Malaysia;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "Malaysia: People First? (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-035, October 2010. (Revised January 2011.)
  20. The Great Moderation, Dead or Alive?

    The Great Moderation is a significant decline in the volatility of fluctuations in most macroeconomic variables that the United States and other developed and developing economies have experienced at least since the mid-1980s. This case describes the basic facts, presents contending explanations, and explores the consequences of the Great Moderation for the likely amplitude of future business cycles.

    Keywords: Volatility; Business Cycles; Macroeconomics; United States;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "The Great Moderation, Dead or Alive?" Harvard Business School Background Note 709-023, January 2009. (Revised January 2011.)
  21. Peru IXP (TN)

    Keywords: Peru;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A. "Peru IXP (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-027, September 2010.
  22. China: Getting Richer Still

    In the last quarter of 2009, China's GDP growth rate again approached 10%. While the global financial crisis had certainly hurt - causing layoffs of as many as 20 million factory workers - a huge stimulus package on top of continuing domestic demand had restored economic growth from its sharp, export-led stump. Now, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao could return their attention to job growth, income distribution, resource allocation, excessive reserve accumulation and the environment.

    Keywords: History; Resource Allocation; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Social Issues; Policy; Business and Government Relations; Macroeconomics; Demand and Consumers; Leading Change; Economic Growth; China;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and Richard H. K. Vietor. "China: Getting Richer Still." Harvard Business School Case 710-050, February 2010. (Revised April 2010.)
  23. Central Europe after the Crash: Between Europe and the Euro

    This note briefly reviews the financial crisis in central Europe in late 2008, and summarizes how four central European countries—Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia—have coped with the economic downturn.

    Keywords: Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Financial Crisis; Financial Strategy; Czech Republic; Hungary; Poland; Slovakia;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., Dante Roscini, and Elisa Farri. "Central Europe after the Crash: Between Europe and the Euro." Harvard Business School Background Note 710-047, April 2010.

    Research Summary

  1. Technology Adoption

    How large are cross-country differences in technology adoption? How important are they to explain the large observed cross-country differences in per capita income? What factors accelerate of slowdown the adoption of technology? What factors affect the shape of the diffusion of technology?


    To answer these questions I have put together several historical data sets on technology adoption and develop new models that allow me to map the micro data to macro aggregates such as labor productivity and total factor productivity (TFP). In several papers I have documented that cross-country differences in technology adoption are even larger than cross-country differences in per-capita income. They are also very persistent. Technology adoption history as far back as 1500 AD can account for a significant fraction of current development. Similarly, current technology adoption differences may account for at least 25% of cross-country variation in current per-capita income. Many factors affect the speed of technology adoption. Two that I have studied are lobbies and capital markets. Both of them seem to have an important effect especially in rich countries. In Developing countries, it seems that private savings are important to attract foreign investors with familiarity in frontier technology.

  2. Output and asset price fluctuations

    What are the sources of business cycles? How are these shocks propagated in the economy? Why are their effects so persistent? How can we explain asset price fluctuations? How are shocks transmitted internationally?To study these questions, I have developed a series of macro models where the technology available for production is endogenous. In booms, when aggregate demand is higher, agents find more profitable to invest in improving their technologies. As a result, the business cycle affects the rate at which technologies improve the technology. Modeling this mechanism yields many interesting consequences. First, it provides a theory for medium term fluctuations in TFP. Second, since temporary macro shocks lead to persistent deviations in the level of technology relative to trend, these type of models generate lots of endogenous persistence. This feature of the model is important, for example, to explain why Japan experienced a lost decade during the 1990s despite the facts that the shocks that hit the Japanese economy at the beginning of the decade were not nearly as persistent.

    Standard macro models have a difficult time in explaining asset price volatility. In those models, the stock market is given by the value of installed capital which does not fluctuate much. Once we endogenize the level of technology, the stock market is also affected by fluctuations in the value of current and future producers of the goods that embody the technology. Since profits are very pro-cyclical, and their present discounted value is very volatile, the stock market generated by my models can replicate the statistical properties of the stock market in the data. In addition, volatility and persistence of dividends are consistent with the data. In particular, the model does not rely on highly volatile counter-cyclical risk premia to explain asset prices. Rather, the macro model generates a small persistent component in dividends. We find evidence of the presence of such persistent component in the data.

    The endogenous diffusion of technology is important also to explain the co-movement between developed and developing countries. In particular, since technologies diffuse from rich to poor countries, cyclical variation in the speed of technology diffusion will affect the medium term fluctuations in developing countries. This mechanism can explain, for example, why high frequency fluctuations in the US lead medium term fluctuations in Mexico.

  3. Firm and aggregate volatility

    US publicly traded companies have become more volatile over the postwar period. This trend has been the result of increased competition in product markets through deregulation, through more intensive innovation activity, and through easier access to capital markets. Since the wages of publicly traded companies are a function of the firm’s performance, the higher volatility faced by firms has affected the volatility of wages. Further, since around 1980, firms have responded to the more volatile environment by making compensations more dependent on the firm performance. As a result, wage volatility has increased very significantly for workers in publicly traded companies.

    This trend at the firm level is in sharp contrast with the decline in the volatility of most macro aggregates such as GDP, investment, consumption and hours worked known as the great moderation. In several papers I show that these trends can be reconciled if we recognized the secular trend towards faster technology diffusion. When technologies diffuse faster, there is more turnover in market leadership. Further, there is less amplification of shocks through endogenous technology adoption because the stock of technologies waiting to be adopted is smaller. As a result, aggregate volatility should decline. Interestingly, this theory is also consistent with the last of any moderation in the volatlity of stock returns.

      El País Internacional
      02/23/2013

      Moisés Naim

      New York Times
      05/10/2013

      Eduardo Porter

      Vox
      05/28/2013

      Diego Comin, Martí Mestieri

      Boston Globe
      10/3/2012

      Farah Stockman

      Vox
      11/26/2012

      Diego Comin, Mikhail Dmitriev, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

      HBS Press Release
      January 20, 2012

      Thirty second-year Harvard Business School (HBS) students recently had the unique opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. During the meeting, the students presented the findings of the analysis they conducted for almost four months regarding the drivers and barriers to Malaysian productivity and competitiveness. In addition, they provided recommendations to alleviate impediments and foster rapid growth.