Diego Comin, and Marti Mestieri, If Technology Has Arrived Everywhere, Why Has Income Diverged?, TSE Working Paper, n. 13-409, May 2013.


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.

JEL codes

  • E13: Neoclassical
  • O14: Industrialization • Manufacturing and Service Industries • Choice of Technology
  • O33: Technological Change: Choices and Consequences • Diffusion Processes
  • O41: One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models