The spread of technology and the level of development : a comparative study of steel mills using the Electric Arc furnace technology in India and Britain.
In this thesis the relationship between the spread of technology and the extent of
economic development is analysed. The quantitative dimension of the spread
of technology is usually analysed in studies on the speed and extent of diffusion
across countries and industries. The qualitative dimension concerns the
adoption and use of technology which is usually studied in the literature on
technology adoption and adaptation by firms.
A process technology in two countries that differ considerably in their level of
development, viz. UK and India, is considered. This controls for the
technological and industrial specificity of the spread process allowing the
influence of the development factor to be seen more clearly. The study is
conducted at the industry/economy level, as well as the firm level. In this way
the effects of the studying the different levels of aggregation together, and the
relation between adoption and diffusion are clarified.
The study indicates a wide diversity of patterns in the spread of technology
across countries. Differences in both the coefficients of the diffusion curve and
in the underlying functional form are identified. A deeper analysis of the patterns
of spread in India and Britain reveals the greater influence of supply and
infrastructure constraints in India, while in Britain the entire process was largely
consumption constrained. If it can be assumed that capacity and production
side constraints are more likely in industrialising economies, these dynamics
could be inferred as more typical in influencing the spread of technology in
A study of the use and adoption of the technology by firms shows the importance
of existing market structures, defined broadly to include the structure and
organisation of production and consumption. In fact the composition of
competition and in what way technology was harnessed as a competitive force.
In the purely technological sense of operational efficiency it is shown that Indian
firms performed more poorly than British firms. Furthermore this poor
performance could be traced back to diversification strategies of Indian firms
which in turn were a response to poorer levels of market formation in the