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Research Areas

  • Macroeconomics
  • Technology
  • Innovation
  • Economic Development
  • International economics

Diego Comin

Bridging the Technological Divide:
Technology Adoption by Firms in Developing Countries

Xavier Cirera, Diego Comin and Marcio Cruz


Many of the main problems facing developing countries today and tomorrow--growth, poverty reduction, inequality, food insecurity, job creation, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and adjustment to climate change--hinge on adopting better technology, a key driver of economic development. Access to technology is not enough: firms have to adopt it. Yet it is precisely the uptake of technology that is lagging in many firms in developing countries. The COVID-19 pandemic drove a big uptake of technology, especially digital technologies. Bridging the Technological Divide: Technology Adoption by Firms in Developing Countries takes advantage of this shift to delve into which firms have adopted and use technologies and to what purpose. To do so, it proposes a new approach to measure and understand the adoption and use of technologies by firms. Specifically, it leverages a new data collection instrument, the Firm-level Adoption of Technology (FAT) survey, which provides a very rich characterization of the technologies used and the processes of adoption by firms in developing countries. This book helps open the “black box” of technology adoption by firms. The seventh volume in the World Bank’s Productivity Project series, it will further both research and policy that can be used to support technology adoption by firms in developing countries.


Drivers Of Competitiveness


Drivers of Competitiveness (DOC) is a collection of case studies that sheds light on the competitiveness of companies and countries. In the context of the global financial crisis and its aftermath, DOC studies the factors that have affected competitiveness and the diversity of responses around the world. The cases and the analytical framework that emerges from the book constitute an essential kit for current and future managers, policy-makers and observers of global dynamics.
Buy it here:  link

Malaysia Beyond 2020

During more than a decade, the Malaysian economy has showed signs of fatigue that indicate that productive opportunities are diminishing. What is causing the slowdown? Can the government do something about it? Are the lessons from Malaysia applicable to other emerging and advanced economies? This book presents a new analytical framework to explore these questions. The diagnostic is that the main root cause of the economic slowdown is the scarcity of technological knowledge by Malaysian companies. Solving this problem requires a new approach to policy-making that recognizes the importance of managing knowledge in society to create a knowledge friendly ecosystem where knowledge is created and allocated efficiently. A detail guide is provided about how to attain such an ecosystem starting from the current environment in Malaysia.

Mapping Patterns of Technological Adoption Across Countries

Presentation at the New Champions Meeting, World Economic Forum, Dalian 2013.

Presentation by Malaysia IXP to PM Najib

Conclusions from the Malaysia IXP led at the Harvard Business School in 2012.

Hotel Survey

Survey directed to managers in the hotel industry to assess the factors that affect development and operation of hotels. If you're a hotel manager, I would appreciate that you take five minutes to fill it.


In the News

"How AI will affect the economy?," Vanguardia Dossier.

"Technological Factor Productivity," UCSD podcast, 4/17/2023.

"Your employer is (probably) unprepared for artificial intelligence," The Economist, 7/16/2023.

"Whoever leads in artificial intelligence in 2030 will rule the world until 2100," Brookings, 1/17/2020.

"Economics students stuck in Cusco, Peru during December protests," The Dartmouth, 1/10/23

"Destroy, then build, for true business transformation," Digital Transformation, Raconteur #0846 11/12/2022

Tecnología, Innovación y macroeconomía Podcast for Ceteris Paribus, Penn Initiative for the Study of Markets 11/04/2022

“Poverty, inequality and technology” Descrifrado 11/6/2022

"U.S. workers have gotten way less productive. No one is sure why." Washington Post, 10/31/22

"The 1970s and now" CSM, 7/25/22

"Productivity Gains during the pandemic" New York Times, 7/11/2022

‘Really out of control.’ America digs in for inflation fight. Christian Science Monitor 6/17/2022

"New Study Finds That Income, Not Prices, Drives the Economy" Dartmouth News 3/25/21

"When Life Returns to Normal, Not All Tech Companies Will Thrive" Bloomberg 1/22/21

How can companies in the digital economy best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? 5/27/20

"Malaysia Gets A New Finance Minister" Global Finance - The Magazine 4/7/2020

"Why America is Losing the Toilet Race" NPR 2/25/2020

"Presentation at the ECB conference on Challenges on the Digital Age" July 2019

"Dartmouth 2019 Valedictorian Ruoni Wang " 6/6/19

"Frame final conference"

Video: "On the relevance of Non-homotheticities for modeling innovation and inequality" Lund, October 2018

"Brussels Debate on Innovation Policy", October 2018

Podcast: "The impact of Innovation" 9/28/2018

"Publicly funded applied research pays off: The effects of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on firm performance"

"The Great Divergence" featured at the AEA webpage, July 2018

"IMF-Bank of Spain Conference: Spain from Recovery to Resilience" , April 3, 2018

"Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Euro Area", March 13, 2017

The people who inspired me in 2016 by Satya Nadella, January 2017

Presentation at Microsoft Headquarters on 9/15/16

Classes embrace hands-on  learning
Dartmouth Now

Interview by Jaime de Althaus, La Hora N, Peru 12/11/15

The Creed Of Speed:
The Economist Dec 5th 2015

50 Million Users: The Making of an ‘Angry Birds’ Internet Meme, Timothy Appel. WSJ, Mar 20, 2015

Interview ABC, 4/16/15

Presentation of Economic Program, Ciudadanos

"Interview in Astro Malaysia"

"Linking industry and Academics"
New Straits Time

The evolution of technology diffusion and the Great Divergence
Brookings Blum Roundtable

Diego Comin

Los ricos son vulnerables
El Pais Internacional

Moises Naim

Technology as a Driver of Growth (or Not)
New York Times

Eduardo Porter

Technology and Income Dynamics: 1800-2000

Diego Comin, Marti Mestieri

In Kenya, turning savannah into gold
Boston Globe

Farah Stockman

Heavy Technology: The Process of Technological Diffusion over Time and Space

Diego Comin, Mikhail Dmitriev, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Students on Immersion Experience Program Present Findings to Malaysian Prime Minister HBS Press Release
HBS Press Release
January 20, 2012

Copyright © Diego Comin 2021