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Lightning, IT diffusion and economic growth across US states

Thomas Andersen, Jeanet Bentzen (), Carl-Johan Dalgaard () and Pablo Selaya

No 2/2011, Discussion Papers of Business and Economics from University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics

Abstract: Empirically, a higher frequency of lightning strikes is associated with slower growth in labor productivity across the 48 contiguous US states after 1990; before 1990 there is no correlation between growth and lightning. Other climate variables (e.g., temperature, rainfall and tornadoes) do not conform to this pattern. A viable explanation is that lightning influences IT diffusion. By causing voltage spikes and dips, a higher frequency of ground strikes leads to damaged digital equipment and thus higher IT user costs. Accordingly, the flash density (strikes per square km per year) should adversely affect the speed of IT diffusion. We find that lightning indeed seems to have slowed IT diffusion, conditional on standard controls. Hence, an increasing macroeconomic sensitivity to lightning may be due to the increasing importance of digital technologies for the growth process.

Keywords: Climate; IT diffusion; economic growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O33 O51 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 67 pages
Date: 2011-02-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-env
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Related works:
Journal Article: Lightning, IT Diffusion, and Economic Growth Across U.S. States (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Lightning, IT Diffusion and Economic Growth across US States (2009) Downloads
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