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The international diffusion of new technologies : a multitechnology analysis of latecomer advantage and global economic integration

Perkins, Richard and Neumayer, Eric ORCID: 0000-0003-2719-7563 (2005) The international diffusion of new technologies : a multitechnology analysis of latecomer advantage and global economic integration. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 95 (4). pp. 789-808. ISSN 1467-8306

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8306.2005.00487.x


The diffusion of modern, efficient technology has far-reaching consequences for the geography of economic activity, inequality and environmental quality. This article examines two popular yet highly controversial claims about the conditions most favorable to the rapid spread of new technology. The first states that latecomer advantage allows developing countries to diffuse new technology faster than developed countries. The second claim, widely articulated by advocates of neo-liberal policy reform, is that new technologies diffuse more rapidly where countries are “open” to international trade and investment. To investigate these claims we use event-history analysis to estimate the determinants of diffusion speed across a large panel of developed and developing countries for three very different technologies. These are: continuous steel casting, shuttleless textile weaving looms and digital telephone mainlines. Our results broadly support both propositions. Countries which adopt new technology later or have a smaller existing capital stock – characteristic features of developing countries – diffuse new technology more rapidly than countries that adopt earlier or have more installed capacity – two characteristics of developed countries. Trade openness is also found to influence the rate of diffusion positively for all three technologies. Yet, consistent with recent empirical studies, we fail to find support for the idea that foreign direct investment (FDI) accelerates the diffusion of new technology in host economies. The article concludes by discussing the geographical implications of our findings.

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Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an Article published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers 95 (4), pp. 789-808 © 2005 Blackwell Publishing. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 18 May 2006
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2024 20:09

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