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Can a Nation Learn? American Technology as a Network Phenomenon

In: Learning by Doing in Markets, Firms, and Countries

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  • Gavin Wright

Abstract

December 1997 With specific reference to the American surge into world economic leadership in the decades bracketing the turn of the twentieth century, the paper advances two propositions: First, that American technological progress was a network phenomenon, growing out of the actions of large numbers of interacting people -- not necessarily in formally structured institutions of coordination. Second, that these networks were strongly national in character. An implication is that American industrial firms were able to institutionalize research and development programs successfully after 1900, in large part because they could draw upon, extend, and channel the energies of previously existing technological networks. In a real sense the learning was national.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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This chapter was published in:

  • Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Daniel M. G. Raff & Peter Temin, 1999. "Learning by Doing in Markets, Firms, and Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lamo99-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10236.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10236

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    Cited by:
    1. David Prentice, 2006. "A re-examination of the origins of American industrial success," Working Papers 2006.02, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    2. Knick Harley, 2003. "Growth theory and industrial revolutions in Britain and America," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 809-831, November.
    3. Peter Howitt & David Mayer-Foulkes, 2002. "R&D, Implementation and Stagnation: A Schumpeterian Theory of Convergence Clubs," NBER Working Papers 9104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David Prentice, 2012. "The rise of the US Portland cement industry and the role of public science," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(2), pages 163-192, May.
    5. Freeman, Chris, 2001. "A hard landing for the 'New Economy'? Information technology and the United States national system of innovation," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 115-139, July.

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