Technological Diffusion, Convergence, and Growth

Robert J. Barro and Xavier X. Sala-i-Martin

NBER Working Paper # 5151, June 1995


We construct a model that combines elements of endogenous growth with the convergence of the neoclassical growth model. In the long run, the world growth rate is driven by discoveries in the technologically leading countries. Followers converge toward the leaders because copying is cheaper than innovation over some range. A tendency for copying costs to increase reduces followers' growth rate and thereby generates a pattern of conditional convergence. We discuss how countries are selected to be technological leaders, and we assess welfare implications. Poorly defined intellectual property rights imply that leaders have insufficient incentive to invent and followers have excessive incentive to copy.


Technological Diffusion, Convergence, Growth, R&D.

This paper also circulated as

Yale University Economic Growth Center Working Paper #735, June 1995

Universitat Pompeu Fabra Discussion Paper # 116, May 1995