NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Long-Term Barriers to the International Diffusion of Innovations

Enrico Spolaore, Romain Wacziarg

NBER Working Paper No. 17271
Issued in August 2011
NBER Program(s):   IFM   POL

We document an empirical relationship between the cross-country adoption of technologies and the degree of long-term historical relatedness between human populations. Historical relatedness is measured using genetic distance, a measure of the time since two populations' last common ancestors. We find that the measure of human relatedness that is relevant to explain international technology diffusion is genetic distance relative to the world technological frontier ("relative frontier distance"). This evidence is consistent with long-term historical relatedness acting as a barrier to technology adoption: societies that are more distant from the technological frontier tend to face higher imitation costs. The results can help explain current differences in total factor productivity and income per capita across countries.

download in pdf format
   (376 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (376 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17271

Published:

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Hall w17178 Innovation and Productivity
Spolaore and Wacziarg w18130 How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?
Serrano w17304 Estimating the Gains from Trade in the Market for Innovation: Evidence from the Transfer of Patents
Ryan and Tucker w17253 Heterogeneity and the Dynamics of Technology Adoption
Spolaore and Wacziarg w19361 Long-Term Barriers to Economic Development
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us