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Technology and productivity in historical perspective: Introduction


This collection of articles is the result of a workshop organised to consider technology and productivity in historical perspective, drawing in particular on the evolutionary approach. The workshop was organised by the N.W. Posthumus Institute for Economic and Social History, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) and the Groningen Growth and Development Centre. Economic historians with backgrounds in both evolutionary and neoclassical traditions came together in the pleasant surroundings of the NIAS at Wassenaar in May 1999, to re-examine technology and productivity experience in Europe since the Industrial Revolution. An important focus was provided by recent theoretical developments, which have seen the incorporation of many evolutionary ideas into mainstream economics. Until quite recently, there seemed to be little common ground between approaches to technology and growth based on Solow s (1956) neoclassical growth model and Nelson and Winter s (1982) evolutionary, neo-Schumpeterian model. Now, however, the evolutionary approach has entered the mainstream through the work of writers such as Grossman and Helpman (1991) and Aghion and Howitt (1998) on endogenous innovation, and David (1985) and Arthur (1994) on path dependence. This is a particularly welcome development from the perspective of the European Historical Economics Society, the sponsors of the European Review of Economic History, holding out the promise of a genuinely historical economics .

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 4 (2000)
Issue (Month): 02 (August)
Pages: 115-119

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Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:4:y:2000:i:02:p:115-119_00
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