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The Usefulness of Macroeconomic Statistics in Explaining International Differences in the Diffusion of Process Innovations: A Note
Allen Blackman, James W. Boyd
RFF Discussion Paper 95-10 | January 1995
International differences in the timing and speed of the diffusion of technical innovations have profound economic and environmental impacts. For example, they affect the rate of 'convergence' of levels of per capita income in developing and industrialized countries and the rate of global warming. This note investigates the usefulness of macroeconomic statistics as predictors of such differences. Specifically, we test to see whether differences in the timing and speed of the diffusion of four steel and textile core-process innovations (the basic oxygen furnace, continuous casting, the open-end rotor, and the shuttle-less loom) in 48 diverse countries are explained by: GDP per capita, exports as a share of sectoral production, and money stock as a share of GDP. We find that these statistics do in fact explain some international variation in patterns of diffusion; the two steel innovations diffused faster in countries where a relatively high proportion of steel output was exported and that the two textile innovations diffused either earlier or faster in countries with relatively high GDP.
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