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Dr. Diego Comin of Dartmouth University

He has painstakingly studied the evolution of technology diffusion over the past two centuries in countries throughout the world, and has concluded that the differences between rich and poor nations can largely be explained by the speed at which they adopted industrial technologies. But, he says, what’s equally important is the intensity by which they put new technologies to work. This means that even when countries that were slow to adopt new technologies eventually catch up, it’s the intensity of how they use the technology — not simply the access — that can create great economic opportunity.

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