Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Transferring technical knowledge and innovating in Europe, c.1200-c.1800

Contents:

Author Info

  • Stephan R. Epstein
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The role of technology in the transition from premodern to modern economies in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe is among the major questions in economic history, but it is still poorly understood. A plausible explanation of premodern European technological development must account for why Europe industrialised in advance of the great Asian civilisations, despite still being a comparative backwater in the twelfth century. What appears to set Western Europe apart is not that technological progress occurred at a faster rate than elsewhere, but that progress was more persistent and uninterrupted. The technical knowledge of premodern craftsmen and engineers was largely experience-based; thus, virtually all premodern technical knowledge was, and had to be, transferred in the flesh. However, the implications for premodern economic history of the basic cognitive limitations to how technical knowledge can be expressed, processed, and transmitted have yet to be examined in any detail. This paper asks how premodern European societies were able to generate incremental technical innovation under three headings: How was premodern technical knowledge stored to avoid loss? How were tacit, visual, verbal, and written means of transmission used heuristically? How was established and new knowledge transmitted?

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22547/
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22547.

    as in new window
    Length: 43 pages
    Date of creation: May 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22547

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
    Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
    Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Griffiths, Trevor & Hunt, Philip A. & O'Brien, Patrick K., 1992. "Inventive Activity in the British Textile Industry, 1700–1800," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 881-906, December.
    2. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
    3. David E. Wildasin, 2000. "Labor-Market Integration, Investment in Risky Human Capital, and Fiscal Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 73-95, March.
    4. Epstein, S. R., 1998. "Craft Guilds, Apprenticeship, and Technological Change in Preindustrial Europe," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 684-713, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22547. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lucy Ayre on behalf of EH Dept.).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.