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Melding Economic and Social to Understand Evolution and Impact of High Technology


  • Lynne G. Zucker
  • Michael R. Darby
  • Richard B. Freeman


This introduction is to introduce the major themes in this special issue and to focus attention on the robustness and utility of approaches that cross-cut the research discussed here and research available elsewhere. We identify major themes that have emerged in the nano-relevant discussion and literature and situate this special issue in that context. We also attempt to draw out the benefits derived from combining interdisciplinary research in our special issue, rather than strewn across discipline-focused journals seldom read together by the same person. Economic and social explanations may provide alternative explanations that produce similar end results. The main mechanisms of interest are probably expected economic returns and lowering diffusion costs via social network ties. That is, there may be synergistic mechanisms for causing adoption of innovation that together produce more widespread change; while the change is differently motivated, the end result may be to benefit more of those at risk for adoption. We then discuss each of the major themes of this special issue in turn and evaluate the contributions made in light of other work on nanotechnology and on emerging technologies in general.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Richard B. Freeman, 2014. "Melding Economic and Social to Understand Evolution and Impact of High Technology," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 115-116, pages 13-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2014:i:115-116:p:13-21
    DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009.115-116.13

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