Allan Collard-Wexler, Jan De Loecker, 03 February 2013

This paper measures the impact of the minimill, a drastic new technology for producing steel. The authors find that the sharp increase in the industry's productivity is linked to this new technology, and operates through two distinct mechanisms. First, minimills displaced the older technology, called vertically integrated production, and this reallocation of output was responsible for a third of the increase in the industry's productivity. Second, increased competition, due to the expansion of minimills, drove a substantial reallocation process within the group of vertically integrated producers, driving a resurgence in their productivity, and consequently of the industry's productivity as a whole.

Joan Costa-i-Font, Alistair McGuire, Victoria Serra-Sastre, 19 January 2013

Although healthcare innovation can make treatment cheaper, it can also make policy decisions more difficult by introducing new, better but more expensive technologies. This column argues that, unlike other technologies, healthcare technology is intermediated by insurance mechanisms, both private and public. Although health insurance coverage incentivises expenditure on innovation, it does not seem to heighten technology adoption, a challenge to the idea that innovation increases healthcare costs. Indeed, evidence suggests that technology diffusion is limited by other institutional barriers.

Susan Ariel Aaronson, 22 December 2012

The internet is an expanding opportunity for growth. This column argues that in recent years, however, policymakers and market actors have been undermining its potential. Governments and market actors are reducing both access to information and freedom of expression, as well as moving towards a splintered, non-global internet. Commitment to an open, free and global internet will be hard, but if bilateral, regional or multilateral trade agreements encourage interoperability, we might see some harmony among signatories’ privacy, online piracy, and security policies.

Diego Comin, Mikhail Dmitriev, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 26 November 2012

Geographical distance is a fundamental impediment to virtually all economic transactions. This column, using data on technology adoption in 161 countries over 140 years, argues that it also inhibits the spatial diffusion of technology. Moreover, it shows that technology spreads like an epidemic. As more people adopt a technology, the importance of distance to the technological leader diminishes until it eventually becomes irrelevant.

Daron Acemoğlu, James Robinson, Thierry Verdier, 21 November 2012

Amid the current economic slowdown there is renewed interest in what type of capitalism fosters growth and best improves welfare. This column argues Nordic-style capitalism may provide higher welfare but in an interconnected world, it may be the cut-throat US capitalism, with its extant inequalities, that makes possible the existence of more cuddly Nordic societies.

Robert J. Gordon, 11 September 2012

Global growth is slowing – especially in advanced-technology economies. This column argues that regardless of cyclical trends, long-term economic growth may grind to a halt. Two and a half centuries of rising per-capita incomes could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history.

Ashish Arora, Andrea Fosfuri, Thomas Rønde, 10 July 2012

Over the last decade, companies have paid greater attention to the management of their intellectual assets. We build a model that helps understand how licensing activity should be organized within large corporations.

Rahul Anand, Saurabh Mishra, Nikola Spatafora, 03 June 2012

Recent research has argues that what a country produces and exports matters for growth. This column presents a new dataset on export sophistication and reveals that in many countries the importance of modern services, and the sophistication of manufactured and service exports, has increased over time. It adds that an educated workforce, external liberalisation, and good information flows are important prerequisites for developing sophisticated goods and services.

Saurabh Mishra, Susanna Lundstrom Gable, Rahul Anand, 08 April 2012

Thanks to developments in technology, trade in services is becoming increasingly more viable, with many businesses now dividing their operations across the world. This column creates a new measure of what it calls ‘service export sophistication’ to illustrate this shift. It highlights the need to refocus policy debate with the understanding that service exports are vital for high economic growth.

Dani Rodrik, 31 October 2011

If rich and poor countries have access to the same technology, shouldn't their productivity levels eventually converge? This would imply that poor countries should grow more quickly until they catch up – but such a tendency has never been proven. CEPR DP8631 shows that this convergence in output does in fact occur – but within manufacturing sectors rather than in economies as a whole.

Eric Bartelsman, Pieter Gautier, Joris de Wind, 28 March 2011

Why is the US more productive than the EU? Many studies have shown that the wider use of information and communication technologies in the US explains much of the difference. Why does the US use these technologies more? This column provides new evidence suggesting the answer may lie in differences in employment protection legislation.

William Jack, Tavneet Suri, 16 March 2011

The success of the mobile money programme in Kenya – where money is exchanged via mobile phone – has been phenomenal. In four years, a country with only 850 bank branches has seen the number of outlets providing the service grow from 4,000 to 25,000. People have access to formal finance as never before. This column studies 3,000 households between 2008 and 2010, tracking this social and economic transformation.

Sebastian Engelhardt, Andreas Freytag, Stephen Maurer, 29 October 2010

Governments are increasingly interested in promoting open source software. Yet policymakers have seldom laid out any clear theoretical or empirical justification for these policies. This column explores recent studies suggesting that open source and proprietary software strengthen each other and should co-exist – too much open source could actually be a bad thing.

Annamaria Conti , Patrick Gaulé, 30 July 2009

European universities produce high-quality scientific research, but they licence it to industry far less than US universities. This column introduces new survey evidence on university licensing and assesses the gap between the US and Europe. It highlights European universities’ shortcomings in generating technology transfer revenue, despite their desire to do so.

Robert Allen, 15 May 2009

It is still not clear among economic historians why the Industrial Revolution actually took place in 18th century Britain. This column explains that it is the British Empire’s success in international trade that created Britain’s high wage, cheap energy economy, and it was the spring board for the Industrial Revolution.

Lawrence Katz, 15 May 2009

Lawrence Katz of Harvard University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his book (co-authored with Claudia Goldin), The Race between Education and Technology, a history of US economic inequality and the roles of technological change and the pace of educational advance in affecting the wage structure. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in San Francisco in January 2009.

Daron Acemoğlu, 27 February 2009

Daron Acemoglu of MIT talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his new book, Introduction to Modern Economic Growth. They discuss why sustained growth took off in Europe in the nineteenth century, the roles of technology and institutions in explaining why some countries grow rapidly while others stagnate, and the growth prospects for the world’s poorest countries as well as the recent Asian success stories. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in San Francisco in January 2009.

Kevin O'Rourke, Ronald Findlay, 10 March 2008

Globalisation is fundamentally political, not technological. This is the lesson from a new book tracing 1000 years of international trade history. Here the authors use lessons from the past to identify challenges for globalisation in the 21st century.

Giulia Faggio , Kjell G. Salvanes, John Van Reenen, 25 November 2007

Much of the growing wage inequality stems from increased inequality between firms rather than within firms, suggesting inequality is driven by changes in firm-level productivity related to new technology rather than to international trade or institutions. Trade protectionism or re-energising unions may do relatively little to reverse the increase in inequality.

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