Title: Convergence and divergence in the global economy from a technological perspective

Authors: Jeffrey James

Addresses: Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Abstract: It is precisely because of the importance now ascribed (by many scholars) to technical change as a source of economic growth, that our view of the way in which innovations are actually generated, appropriated and diffused among different countries bears so heavily on what we think will be the dispersion over time of growth rates between rich and poor countries. On the other hand there are economists whose view of technological relationships leads them to anticipate a convergence of per capita incomes between countries at different stages of development. In yet another category are those who take a different view of how technologies are generated, appropriated and diffused internationally. This group tends to conceive of a process of economic divergence, whereby the gap between rich and poor countries becomes larger rather than smaller over time. The purpose of this paper is to compare the assumptions about technical change that give rise to these contrasting perspectives, to confront them with the available evidence and to suggest an analytical framework which is more suitable for analysing the influence that is currently being exerted on the inter-country patterns of globalisation by the introduction of information technology. We find among other things, that although the notion of international technological dualism was conceived as early as 1970, it is only recently that an accurate view of technical change based on this concept has been formalised in growth theory.

Keywords: technical change; technological dualism; catch-up; globalisation; innovations; growth.

DOI: 10.1504/IJITM.2003.004198

International Journal of Information Technology and Management, 2003 Vol.2 No.4, pp.312 - 323

Published online: 02 Apr 2004 *

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