Technology spillover through trade and TFP convergence: 135 years of evidence for the OECD countries

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Using a new dataset on imports of technology and total factor productivity (TFP) over 135 years for the OECD countries, this paper tests whether knowledge has been transmitted internationally through the channel of trade. The empirical estimates show that there is a robust relationship between TFP and imports of knowledge and that 93% of the increase in TFP over the past century has been solely due to imports of knowledge. Furthermore, it is shown that knowledge spillovers have been an important contributing factor behind the TFP convergence among the OECD countries over the period 1870 to 2004.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-480
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of International Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


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