NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

If Technology Has Arrived Everywhere, Why has Income Diverged?

Diego A. Comin, Martí Mestieri Ferrer

NBER Working Paper No. 19010
Issued in May 2013
NBER Program(s):   DAE   EFG   ME   PR

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19010

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