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Is War Necessary for Economic Growth? Military Procurement and Technology Development

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  • Ruttan, Vernon W.

Abstract

New radical general purpose technologies have been the drivers of economic growth in the United States economy in recent economic history. In this paper I review the role of military and defense related research, technology development, and procurement in the development of the aircraft, nuclear power, computer, semiconductor, internet and the space communication and earth observing industries. The development of each of these industries would have been substantially delayed in the absence of support for research, technology development and procurement by the military and defense related agencies. Rates of productivity and output growth would have been substantially slower. By the early 1990's it was becoming clear that changes in the United States economy, of the defense industrial base, and in United States military and defense strategy meant that the defense and defense related industries would no longer play a prominent role in the development of new general purpose technologies. There has been a relative decline in investment in basic research and in early stage technology development in the private sector. The United States has yet to develop a coherent strategy for the public support of commercial technology development. My own sense is that when the history of United States technology development for the next half century is eventually written it will be characterized by incremental rather than revolutionary changes in both military and commercial technology. It will also be written in the context of slower productivity and output growth than the rates that prevailed in the United States during the first several post war decades or since the beginning of the information technology bubble that began in the early 1990s.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 13534.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:13534

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Keywords: International Development; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies;

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  1. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
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  1. Devon Swezey: In Defense of Bill Gates
    by Devon Swezey in huffington post business on 2010-08-04 21:58:35
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Cited by:
  1. Philip A. Curry & Steeve Mongrain, 2008. "What is a Gang and Why Does the Law Care?," Discussion Papers dp08-04, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  2. Taylor, Mark Zachary & Wilson, Sean, 2012. "Does culture still matter?: The effects of individualism on national innovation rates," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 234-247.
  3. Vasudeva, Gurneeta, 2009. "How national institutions influence technology policies and firms' knowledge-building strategies: A study of fuel cell innovation across industrialized countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1248-1259, October.
  4. Guillou, Sarah & Lazaric, Nathalie & Longhi, Christian & Rochhia, Sylvie, 2009. "The French defence industry in the knowledge management era: A historical overview and evidence from empirical data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 170-180, February.
  5. Viktor Slavtchev & Simon Wiederhold, 2011. "The Impact of Government Procurement Composition on Private R&D Activities," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-036, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  6. Field, Alexander J., 2009. "US economic growth in the gilded age," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 173-190, March.
  7. William Bonvillian & Richard Atta, 2011. "ARPA-E and DARPA: Applying the DARPA model to energy innovation," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 36(5), pages 469-513, October.
  8. Belloc, Filippo, 2013. "Innovation in State-owned Enterprises: Reconsidering the Conventional Wisdom," MPRA Paper 54748, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Mar 2014.
  9. Naude, Wim, 2007. "Peace, Prosperity, and Pro-Growth Entrepreneurship," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Antonelli,Cristiano & Gehringer,Agnieszka, 2012. "Knowledge externalities and demand pull: The European evidence," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201214, University of Turin.

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