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Something new under the sun. The role of new technologies in a growing economy


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  • GianPaolo Mariutti

    (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

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    This paper inquires into radical innovations and into their role to promote economic growth. Can an economic system grow only in quantitative terms, or the process of structural change, that underlines the emergence of new technologies, is an essential ingredient? To put it philosophically: is there something new under the sun of a growing economy or not? The paper attempts to deal with this quest both in terms of analysis and in terms of evidence. In terms of analysis, it conceptualizes the taxonomy of innovation, proposed by Chris Freeman (1994), in an input-output framework. It shows how the rate of growth will eventually peter out without the essential contribution of new sectors in the economy. In terms of evidence, it brings the case of electronics to study the impact of a new technology in changing the economic structure and the knowledge structure of the UK and US economy between the 1970s and 1990s. The changes are profound, and they may help to start explaining a sort of reverse of Solow’s paradox. Namely, computer are everywhere, now also in the statistics of the tertiary sector.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Verona, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 45.

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    Length: 44
    Date of creation: Dec 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:45

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    Keywords: radical innovations; structural change; productivity; economic growth; new sectors.;

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    1. Dosi, Giovanni, 1982. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 147-162, June.
    2. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
    3. Michael L. Wachter, 1977. "Intermediate Swings in Labor-Force Participation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(2), pages 545-576.
    4. D. C. Coleman, 1983. "Proto-Industrialization: A Concept Too Many," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 36(3), pages 435-448, 08.
    5. Rondo Cameron, 1985. "A New View of European Industrialization," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 38(1), pages 1-23, 02.
    6. Verdoorn, P J, 1980. "Verdoorn's Law in Retrospect: A Comment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 382-85, June.
    7. Nelson, Richard R, 1981. "Research on Productivity Growth and Productivity Differences: Dead Ends and New Departures," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 1029-64, September.
    8. Denison, Edward F, 1983. "The Interruption of Productivity Growth in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(369), pages 56-77, March.
    9. Rosenberg, Nathan & Frischtak, Claudio R, 1984. "Technological Innovation and Long Waves," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 7-24, March.
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