NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Daniel P. Gross

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
WWW:
NBER Program Affiliations: DAE
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2017Scale versus Scope in the Diffusion of New Technology: Evidence from the Farm Tractor
w24125
Using the farm tractor as a case study, I show that lags in technology diffusion arise along two distinct margins, which I term scale and scope. Though tractors are now used in nearly every agricultural field operation and in the production of nearly all crops, they first developed with much more limited application. Early diffusion was accordingly rapid in these narrower applications, but limited in scope until tractor technology generalized. The sequence of diffusion is consistent with a model of R&D in specific- versus general-purpose attributes and with other historical examples, suggesting that the key to understanding technology diffusion lies not only in explaining the number of different users, but also in explaining the number of different uses.
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us