If technology has arrived everywhere, why has income diverged?

Diego Comin, Martí Mestieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We study the cross- country evolution of technology diffusion over the last two centuries. We document that adoption lags between poor and rich countries have converged, while the intensity of use of adopted technologies of poor countries relative to rich countries has diverged. The evolution of aggregate productivity implied by these trends in technology diffusion resembles the actual evolution of the world income distribution in the last two centuries. Cross- country differences in adoption lags account for a significant part of the cross- country income divergence in the nineteenth century. The divergence in intensity of use accounts for the divergence during the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-178
Number of pages42
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Macroeconomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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