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The economics of knowledge reproduction by inscription


  • Dominique Foray
  • W. Edward Steinmueller


The focus of this paper is on how humans reproduce their knowledge and understanding, their know-what and their know-how, in forms outside of themselves through inscription. The paper develops the analysis of inscription technologies in two phases. The first involves an examination of specific technologies and their relation to the cultivation of individual and group skills as well as organizational routines. The second phase takes up the question of how the representation of knowledge influences the potentials for inscription. The essence of the argument is that new opportunities are emerging for scripting reproduction of human expression and works, with the potential for transforming the rate and direction of both variety production and selection. The 'inherent' capabilities of these new scripting techniques are profound and they may serve to produce new expressions that differ as significantly from our current literate culture as our own culture differs from the oral culture of pre-literate societies. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Foray & W. Edward Steinmueller, 2003. "The economics of knowledge reproduction by inscription," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 299-319, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:12:y:2003:i:2:p:299-319

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bas Jacobs & Frederick Van Der Ploeg, 2006. "Guide to reform of higher education: a European perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 535-592, July.
    2. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 175-212.
    3. André Sapir & Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Caroline Hoxby & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2007. "Why reform Europe's universities," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8100, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Laura Abramovsky & Rupert Harrison & Helen Simpson, 2007. "University Research and the Location of Business R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 114-141, March.
    5. Paul M. Romer, 2001. "Should the Government Subsidize Supply or Demand in the Market for Scientists and Engineers?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 221-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bruno Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2008. "Europe's R&D: Missing the Wrong Targets?," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 43(4), pages 220-225, July.
    7. Francesco Lissoni & Bulat Sanditov & Gianluca Tarasconi, 2006. "The Keins Database on Academic Inventors: Methodology and Contents," KITeS Working Papers 181, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Sep 2006.
    8. Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2008. "Differential Grading Standards and University Funding: Evidence from Italy," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(2), pages 149-176.
    9. Dosi, Giovanni & Llerena, Patrick & Labini, Mauro Sylos, 2006. "The relationships between science, technologies and their industrial exploitation: An illustration through the myths and realities of the so-called `European Paradox'," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1450-1464, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manlio Giudice & Maria Della Peruta & Vincenzo Maggioni, 2013. "Collective Knowledge and Organizational Routines within Academic Communities of Practice: an Empirical Research on Science–Entrepreneurs," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 4(3), pages 260-278, September.
    2. Scott, Allen J., 2010. "Cultural economy and the creative field of the city," MPRA Paper 32108, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Jarle Hildrum & Dieter Ernst & Jan Fagerberg, 2011. "The Complex Interaction between Global Production Networks, Digital Information Systems and International Knowledge Transfers," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economic Complexity of Technological Change, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Mike Bartholomaei, 2005. "To Know is to Be: Three Perspectives on the Codification of Knowledge," SPRU Working Paper Series 131, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    5. Cacciatori, Eugenia, 2008. "Memory objects in project environments: Storing, retrieving and adapting learning in project-based firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1591-1601, October.
    6. Maria Ljunggren & Hans Westlund, 2013. "Professors’ attitude to collaboration and central infrastructure for collaboration: an analysis of social capital establishment within higher education institutions," Chapters,in: Knowledge Commercialization and Valorization in Regional Economic Development, chapter 5, pages 85-109 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Bruce S. Tether & Qian Cher Li & Andrea Mina, 2012. "Knowledge-bases, places, spatial configurations and the performance of knowledge-intensive professional service firms," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(5), pages 969-1001, September.
    8. Francesco Quatraro, 2011. "ICT capital and services complementarities: the Italian evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(20), pages 2603-2613.
    9. Allen Scott, 2006. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Industrial Development: Geography and the Creative Field Revisited," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-24, February.
    10. Bodas Freitas, Isabel Maria & Iizuka, Michiko, 2012. "Openness to international markets and the diffusion of standards compliance in Latin America. A multi level analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 201-215.

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