NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Lobbies and Technology Diffusion

Diego Comin, Bart Hobijn

NBER Working Paper No. 11022
Issued in January 2005, Revised in January 2007
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

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 in a unique dataset compiled by us 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 a technology exists. These effects are quantitatively important. Thus, we conclude that lobbies are an important barrier to technology adoption and to development.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11022

Published: Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2009. "Lobbies and Technology Diffusion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 229-244, December. citation courtesy of

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