Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 237–256 | Cite as

Technology usage lags

  • Diego Comin
  • Bart Hobijn
  • Emilie Rovito


We present evidence on the differences in the intensity with which ten major technologies are used in 185 countries across the world. We do so by calculating how many years ago these technologies were used in the U.S. with the same intensity as they are used in the countries in our sample. We denote these time lags as technology usage lags and compare them with lags in real GDP per capita. We find that (i) technology usage lags are large, often comparable to lags in real GDP per capita, (ii) usage lags are highly correlated with lags in per-capita income, and (iii) usage lags are highly correlated across technologies. The productivity differentials between the state-of-the-art technologies that we consider and the ones they replace, combined with the usage lags that we document, lead us to infer that differences in the intensity of usage of technologies might account for a large part of cross-country TFP differentials.


Technology adoption Cross-country studies 

JEL Classification

O33 O47 O57 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Business SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.NBERCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Federal Reserve Bank of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Federal Reserve Bank of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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