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Variety and the evolution of refinery processing

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  • Nguyen, P.
  • Saviotti, P.P.
  • Trommetter, M.
  • Bourgeois, B.

Abstract

Evolutionary theories of economic development stress the role of variety as both a determinant and a result of growth. In this paper we develop a measure of variety, based on Weitzman's maximum likelihood procedure. This measure is based on the distance between products, and indicates the degree of differentiation of a product population. We propose a generic method, which permits to regroup the products with very similar characteristics values before choosing randomly the product models to be used to calculate Weitzman's measure. We apply the variety measure to process characteristics of oil refining. The results obtained for this technology show classic evolutionary specialization patterns that can be understood on the basis of niche theory. Here the changes in variety are related to changes in the range of the services the technology considered can deliver, range which plays a role similar to that of the size of the habitat of a biological species.

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File URL: http://www.grenoble.inra.fr/Docs/pub/A2004/gael2004-28.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL) in its series Working Papers with number 200428.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:gbl:wpaper:200428

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Keywords: TECHNOLOGICAL EVOLUTION; REFINERY PROCESSES; NICHE THEORY; WEITZMAN MEASURE;

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  1. Adam B. Jaffe & Richard G. Newell & Robert N. Stavins, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 7970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2001. "The Acceleration of Variety Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 274-280, May.
  3. Herbert A. Simon, 1996. "The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691914, December.
  4. Saviotti, P. P. & Metcalfe, J. S., 1984. "A theoretical approach to the construction of technological output indicators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 141-151, June.
  5. Frenken, Koen & Saviotti, Paolo P. & Trommetter, Michel, 1999. "Variety and niche creation in aircraft, helicopters, motorcycles and microcomputers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 469-488, June.
  6. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
  7. Michael Funke & Ralf Ruhwedel, 2000. "Product Variety and Economic Growth - Empirical Evidence for the OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 250, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, December.
  9. Utterback, James M. & Suarez, Fernando F., 1993. "Innovation, competition, and industry structure," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-21, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin Woerter, 2009. "Industry diversity and its impact on the innovation performance of firms," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(5), pages 675-700, October.
  2. Witt, Ulrich, 2010. "Symbolic consumption and the social construction of product characteristics," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 17-25, March.
  3. Carolina Castaldi & Roberto Fontana & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2006. "‘Chariots of Fire’:The Evolution of Tank Technology, 1915-1945," Working Papers 06-02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Feb 2006.
  4. Karolina Safarzyńska & Jeroen Bergh, 2010. "Evolutionary models in economics: a survey of methods and building blocks," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 329-373, June.

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