The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Diffusion of Agricultural Technology

  • David Zilberman
Reference work entry


A high rate of technological change is a major feature of modern agriculture. New technologies are introduced gradually; diffusion is the process through which technologies spread throughout the farm sector over time. While adoption is the decision by an individual producer to use a new technology at a given moment, diffusion is the aggregate measure of adoption decisions. Early studies of diffusion were conducted by sociologists. Rogers (1962) measured technology usage as a fraction of farmers that had adopted a certain technology at a given point in time. Other studies measured diffusion by the fraction of land employed with the new technology. Rogers noticed that diffusion rates of hybrid corn in the United States fit very well as an S-shaped function of time:


Diffusion of agricultural technology Diffusion of technology Discrete-choice estimation Green Revolution Imitation model of technology diffusion Technical change Technology treadmill Threshold model of technology diffusion 

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  1. Feder, G., R.E. Just, and D. Zilberman. 1985. Adoption of agricultural innovations in developing countries: A survey. Economic Development and Cultural Change 32: 255–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Griliches, Z. 1957. Hybrid corn: An exploration in the economics of technological change. Econometrica 25: 501–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Rogers, E.M. 1962. Diffusion of innovation. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Zilberman
    • 1
  1. 1.