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On the long-run evolution of technological knowledge

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  • Hendrik Hakenes

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  • Andreas Irmen

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Abstract

This paper revisits the debate about the appropriate differential equation that governs the evolution of knowledge in models of endogenous growth. We argue that the assessment of the appropriateness of an equation of motion should not only be based on its implications for the future, but that it should also include its implications for the past. We maintain that the evolution of knowledge is plausible if it satisfies two asymptotic conditions: Looking forwards, infinite knowledge in finite time should be excluded, and looking backwards, knowledge should vanish towards the beginning of time (but not before). Our key results show that, generically, the behavior of the processes under scrutiny is either plausible in the future and implausible in the past or vice versa, or implausible at both ends of the time line.
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Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik Hakenes & Andreas Irmen, 2007. "On the long-run evolution of technological knowledge," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 30(1), pages 171-180, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:30:y:2007:i:1:p:171-180
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-005-0044-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    2. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    3. Ola Olsson, 2005. "Technological Opportunity and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 31-53, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Growiec, Jakub, 2010. "Knife-edge conditions in the modeling of long-run growth regularities," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1143-1154, December.
    2. Christian Groth & Karl-Josef Koch & Thomas Steger, 2010. "When economic growth is less than exponential," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 44(2), pages 213-242, August.
    3. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "Recombinant Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 331-360.
    4. Martin Gonzalez Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," Working Papers 72, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jun 2004.

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