uri dadush mick riordan world bank january 2008
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Technology diffusion in the developing world

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Uri Dadush Mick Riordan World Bank January, 2008. Technology diffusion in the developing world. A broad definition of technology. Includes the introduction of “new-to-the market” and “new-to-the-firm” techniques Comprises: machines techniques (including business processes)

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a broad definition of technology
A broad definition of technology
  • Includes the introduction of “new-to-the market” and “new-to-the-firm” techniques
  • Comprises:
    • machines
    • techniques (including business processes)
    • even market knowledge
    • seemingly simple technologies – such as irrigation
wide gaps persist in the use of many technologies in 2004
Wide gaps persist in the use of many technologies in 2004

Indexes, high-income countries=100

High-income

Upper-middle

Lower-

middle

Low-

income

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

measured across several dimensions
Mexico: U-V filtered drinking

water system

Laos: Inexpensive solar power

solutions

India: Internet-enabled

village kiosk

Measured across several dimensions
  • Scientific innovation and invention
    • Patents, journal articles
  • Penetration of older technologies
    • Electrification
    • Fixed-line telephones
    • Sanitation
    • Immunizations
  • Penetration of newer technologies
    • Computers
    • Mobile telephones
    • Internet users
technology in the developing world
Technology in the developing world
  • The technology gap between rich and poor countries has narrowed -- but remains large
  • Progress in developing countries reflects the absorption of pre-existing technologies – not at-the-frontier inventions
  • Globalization has been a main driver of technological progress
  • Low technical literacy, uneven distribution of older technologies and low rural penetration rates limit absorptive capacity
  • Persistent weakness in technological absorptive capacity may constrain further technological progress
technological progress is at the heart of income growth and poverty reduction
Technological progress is at the heart of income growth and poverty reduction

Average annual per capita income and total factor productivity growth,1990-2005

Per capita income growth

TFP growth

* Data for Europe & Central Asia cover period 2005/1995

Source: World Bank, Poncet 2006

technological progress in developing countries has outpaced high income countries
Technological progress in developing countries has outpaced high-income countries

Percent change in technological achievement, 2000s vs 1990s

Source: World Bank

technology gap narrowing but still wide
Technology gap: narrowing but still wide

Index of technological achievement

1990s

2000s

Source: World Bank

how the indexes were calculated
How the indexes were calculated
  • All data were scaled (divided by GDP, population or area as appropriate) to ensure comparability
  • Scaled data were averaged for each of two periods (1990-3 and 2000-3) to minimize impact of outliers
  • All variables converted into an index bound between zero and one by applying subtracting from each observation the minimum value observed over the two time periods and dividing by the difference between the maximum and minimum
  • Variables were converted to have same standard deviation and zero mean
  • Data set shown to have ywo or three principal components.
  • Data was segmented into economically sensible technology dimensions, each of which had one associated principal component. Variables in each dimensions were aggregated using weights from the principal components.
  • The four sub-indices were then aggregated using the first principal components of the reduced data set.
technology in the developing world10
Technology in the developing world
  • The technology gap between rich and poor countries has narrowed -- but remains large
  • Progress in developing countries reflects the absorption of pre-existing technologies – not at-the-frontier inventions
  • Globalization has been a main driver of technological progress
  • Low levels of human capital, uneven distribution of older technologies and low rural penetration rates are important weaknesses
  • Persistent weakness in technological absorptive capacity may constrain further technological progress
developing countries are scarcely active at the global technology frontier
Developing countries are scarcely active at the global technology frontier

Intensity of imported technologies summary index (2000s),

high-income countries=100

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

slide12
Increased penetration of older technologies drives the rise in technological achievement in developing countries

Increase in summary index, relative to high-income increase=100

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

technology in the developing world13
Technology in the developing world
  • The technology gap between rich and poor countries has narrowed -- but remains large
  • Progress in developing countries reflects the absorption of pre-existing technologies – not at-the-frontier inventions
  • Globalization has been a main driver of technological progress
  • Low levels of human capital, uneven distribution of older technologies and low rural penetration rates are important weaknesses
  • Persistent weakness in technological absorptive capacity may constrain further technological progress
technology diffusion depends on exposure to foreign technology and absorptive capacity
Technology diffusion depends on exposure to foreign technology and absorptive capacity

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

substantial increases in market openness have stimulated technology transfer
Substantial increases in market openness have stimulated technology transfer

High-tech Imports (% of GDP)

FDI (% of GDP)

Upper-middle

Upper-middle

Lower-middle

Lower-middle

Low income

Low income

Source: CEPII, BACI database; World Development Indicators

highly skilled migrant populations facilitate technology transfer
Highly-skilled migrant populations facilitate technology transfer

Developing country remittances

(% of GDP)

Size of diaspora

(% of origin-country population)

Source: www.worldbank.org/prospects/migrationandremittances.

technology in the developing world17
Technology in the developing world
  • The technology gap between rich and poor countries has narrowed -- but remains large
  • Progress in developing countries reflects the absorption of pre-existing technologies – not at-the-frontier inventions
  • Globalization has been a main driver of technological progress
  • Low technical literacy, uneven distribution of older technologies and low rural penetration rates limit absorptive capacity
  • Persistent weakness in technological absorptive capacity may constrain further technological progress
most developing countries exploit recent technologies at relatively low levels
Most developing countries exploit recent technologies at relatively low levels

% of developing countries using technology at indicated level of intensity

High-income countries

Developing countries

Intensity of recent technology usage as a percent of global maximum

Source: World Bank using data from Comin & Hobihn (2004)

low diffusion in rural areas restrains overall technological achievement
Low diffusion in rural areas restrains overall technological achievement

Subscribers per 100 persons

Urban subscribers

Rural subscribers

* 2007 data are for June 2007

Source: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India

despite high enrolment rates few students pass standardized tests 2000s
Despite high enrolment rates, few students pass standardized tests (2000s)

Sixth graders

Fourth graders

% of relevant population

Sources: SACMEQ II (2000), PIRLS (2001), and DHS

technology in the developing world21
Technology in the developing world
  • Progress in developing countries reflects the absorption of pre-existing technologies – not at-the-frontier inventions
  • The technology gap between rich and poor countries has narrowed -- but remains large
  • Globalization has been a main driver of technological progress
  • Low technical literacy, uneven distribution of older technologies and low rural penetration rates limit absorptive capacity
  • Persistent weakness in technological absorptive capacity may constrain further technological progress
progress in absorptive capacity
Progress in absorptive capacity

Substantial improvements

  • Macroeconomic environment
  • Financial structure and intermediation

Relatively weak improvements

  • Basic and advanced technological literacy
  • Regulatory environment and governance
technological absorptive capacity has improved relatively slowly
Technological absorptive capacity has improved relatively slowly

Percent increase in technological achievement and absorptive capacity, 1990s to 2000s

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

technology converges toward a level determined by absorptive capacity not the global frontier
Technology converges toward a level determined by absorptive capacity not the global frontier
  • By early 1990s endogenous growth theory (Barro, 1991; Casselli et al., 1996) sought to explain lack of income convergence by arguing that domestic institutions (e.g. education, competition policy, regulations etc.) determined the level of income to which countries converged
  • Hall and Jones (1998), Frankel and Romer (1999) Acemoglu, Easterly and Leine 2003, Rodrik et al. 2002) provided empirical support.
  • Same basic logic has been applied to technology Lederman & Saenz (2005)
slide26
Weak Absorptive capacity may begin to constrain further technological progress

Technological achievement versus per capita income by region (early 2000s)

All countries

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

slide27
Weak Absorptive capacity may begin to constrain further technological progress

Technological achievement versus per capita income by region (early 2000s)

Europe & Central Asia

All countries

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

slide28
Weak Absorptive capacity may begin to constrain further technological progress

Technological achievement versus per capita income by region (early 2000s)

Europe & Central Asia

All countries

Latin America & Caribbean

Source: World Bank, Global Economic Prospects (2008)

key features of a pro technology policy stance
Key features of a pro-technology policy stance
  • No detailed roadmap for promoting technological progress, but certain policy directions are indicated:
    • Maintain openness to trade, foreign direct investment and participation of diaspora
    • Further improve the investment climate so as to allow innovative firms to grow and flourish
    • Improve basic infrastructure (roads, electricity, telephony)
    • Raise the quality and quantity of education throughout economy not just major centers
    • Emphasize technology diffusion by reinforcing dissemination systems and the market-orientation of R&D programs
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