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Essays on technology adoption and political reform in developing countries
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The adoption of new technology plays a vital role in a developing country’s path to economic growth and better living conditions. The first chapter in this dissertation analyzes some of the determinants of the differences between countries in adoption levels of Internet and Communication Technologies (the “digital divide”). Since ICTs are considered to be important for economic growth as well as for participation in the global communication society this “digital divide” between rich and poor countries has generated a large amount of interest.

 The result of technology adoption is not only a greater potential for increased standards of living. The environmental side effects have commanded an increasing share of attention. The third chapter focuses on the climate effects from the combination of economic growth in India and the recent technological development in the budget-sector in the automobile industry. The world has never before seen such large consumer segments as those expected to be created by the recent economic growth in the developing world. In India alone the middle class (those that almost can afford a car at today’s prices) is expected to grow from 10 million to 95 million households in the next 20 years. The expectations of the future demand from these new consumer groups have incited automobile manufacturers to start developing extremely cheap cars targeted towards this market. How will this combination of economic growth and “frugal engineering” affect greenhouse gas emissions?

 Not only improvement in the economic conditions of developing countries is important. Maybe even more decisive are the rules of the game that decides how the countries’ riches are distributed. Parts of those rules are made up of the political system in a country. The second chapter focuses on some of the dynamic effects for the poor from changes in those political rules. Income distribution is difficult to measure so instead I use a different indicator: mortality rate of children. High levels of child mortality are to a large extent a problem of the poor and the rate of child mortality in a country gives an indication of the situation for the country’s most vulnerable citizens. Do democratic transitions in a country relate to the level of child mortality and if it does how long does it take before the effect is seen?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Economics, Stockholm University , 2009. , 110 p.
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26967ISBN: 978-91-7155-876-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-26967DiVA: diva2:212152
Public defence
2009-05-28, hörsal 11, hus F, Universitetsvägen 10 , Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-05-07 Created: 2009-04-21 Last updated: 2009-04-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The one Lakh car, economic growth and CO2 emissions in India
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The one Lakh car, economic growth and CO2 emissions in India
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The expansion of the transport sector is an essential part of the economic and social development of a nation. But in many cases transportation also has adverse environmental implications.  Today these effects in India are relatively mild mainly due to the low number of cars in the country. At the same time the economic growth of India is creating new consumer segments. These segments, even though poor by western standards will by their sheer size create a large demand for cheap transportation. The expectation of this demand has incited automobile manufacturers to develop and launch new product lines of extremely cheap cars. Using household and manufacturer data this paper estimates a structural model of household demand for automobiles in India. Exploiting the model to simulate future demand the predictions are that during the next 20 years the number of cars in India will increase by 30 million due to economic growth and up to 8 million more due to the introduction of low-budget cars.  As a consequence the CO2 emissions from private cars will increase by 634% where more than one sixth of the increase is due to the introduction of low-cost cars. The increase due to the development of low-cost cars is of the same magnitude as the decrease commonly attributed to technological advancements in energy efficiency in estimation models.

Keyword
Transport, Climate Change
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26960 (URN)
Available from: 2009-04-21 Created: 2009-04-21 Last updated: 2010-01-14Bibliographically approved
2. Institutions and ICT Adoption
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Institutions and ICT Adoption
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The importance of good economic institutions for fostering economic growth has been established in a number of papers but the empirical relationship between institutions and technology diffusion is less researched. This paper addresses this question by focusing on the empirical relationship between institutions and the diffusion of three of the most influential Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT); cellular, Internet and PC:s. The findings are that economic institutions affect the diffusion of ICT mainly through delaying the time of adoption.  Once a country has adopted the technology, economic institutions has a negligible effect on the level of adoption.  Some other factors of importance to technology diffusion suggested in the theoretical literature are also tested. Financial and political institutions as well as human capital is correlated to initial adoption while the “appropriateness” of the technologies for a country matters more in later stages of the adoption process. However what turns out to be most decisive for the diffusion process is the maturity of the technology. Studying the dynamics of ICT adoption clearly shows that the more mature the technology is, the less effective are any barriers to technology adoption. The end result is that even if country specific-barriers do not diminish, all countries will nevertheless adopt ICT sooner or later. This maturity effect is much more important in explaining technology diffusion than any institutional effects.

Keyword
Barriers to technology adoption, Economic Institutions, Technology diffusion
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26957 (URN)
Available from: 2009-04-21 Created: 2009-04-21 Last updated: 2010-01-14Bibliographically approved
3. Democratization and Child Mortality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Democratization and Child Mortality
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Millennium Development Goals call for a two-third reduction in the under-five mortality rate.  Can democratic reforms contribute to this goal? This paper studies the dynamic effects of important political changes on the relative change in child mortality. The key finding is that child mortality decreases significantly in the 5 to 25 years following a democratic transition. After this decrease, child mortality stabilizes at a new, lower level. This effect is neither caused by economic growth, nor is it restricted to poor countries. However when disaggregating democratic transitions into different subcomponents, the finding is that the single most important factor explaining the decrease in child mortality is the competitiveness of executive recruitment. The effects of an autocratic experience mirror those of a democratic transition; child mortality increases for a number of years following an autocratic transition. These results are less general and robust, however.

Keyword
Human Development, Democratization, Child Mortality
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26958 (URN)
Available from: 2009-04-21 Created: 2009-04-21 Last updated: 2010-01-14Bibliographically approved

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