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‘Chariots of fire’: the evolution of tank technology, 1915–1945

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  • Carolina Castaldi
  • Roberto Fontana
  • Alessandro Nuvolari

Abstract

We revisit the notion of technological trajectories by means of a detailed case-study of the evolution of tank technology between 1915 and 1945. We use principal component analysis to analyze the distribution of technological characteristics and how they map into specific service characteristics. We find that, despite the existence of differences in technical leadership, tank designs of different countries show a high degree of overlap and closeness along a common technological trajectory. In the conclusions, we speculate on whether this pattern can be explained by common heuristics that influenced the rate and direction of design activities or by doctrinal viewpoints influencing the development and use of tanks on the battlefield.
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  • Carolina Castaldi & Roberto Fontana & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2009. "‘Chariots of fire’: the evolution of tank technology, 1915–1945," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 545-566, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:19:y:2009:i:4:p:545-566
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-009-0141-0
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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Dosi & Richard Nelson, 2013. "The Evolution of Technologies: An Assessment of the State-of-the-Art," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 3(1), pages 3-46, June.
    2. van Rijnsoever, Frank J. & van den Berg, Jesse & Koch, Joost & Hekkert, Marko P., 2015. "Smart innovation policy: How network position and project composition affect the diversity of an emerging technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 1094-1107.
    3. Dosi, Giovanni & Nelson, Richard R., 2010. "Technical Change and Industrial Dynamics as Evolutionary Processes," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 51-127, Elsevier.
    4. Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2021. "Back to the past: the historical roots of labor-saving automation," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 11(1), pages 27-57, March.
    5. Uwe Cantner & Marco Guerzoni & Arianna Martinelli, 2012. "Innovation and market dynamics: A two-mode network approach to user-producer relation," LEM Papers Series 2012/09, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    6. Johan Fourie & Martine Mariotti & Kris Inwood, 2018. "Military technology and sample selection bias," Working Papers 03/2018, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    7. Paul Windrum & Koen Frenken & Lawrence Green, 2017. "The importance of ergonomic design in product innovation. Lessons from the development of the portable computer," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press and the Associazione ICC, vol. 26(6), pages 953-971.
    8. Huenteler, Joern & Ossenbrink, Jan & Schmidt, Tobias S. & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2016. "How a product’s design hierarchy shapes the evolution of technological knowledge—Evidence from patent-citation networks in wind power," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 1195-1217.
    9. Junmo Kim & Juneseuk Shin, 2018. "Mapping extended technological trajectories: integration of main path, derivative paths, and technology junctures," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(3), pages 1439-1459, September.
    10. Frenken, Koen & Pyka, Andreas & Verspagen, Bart & Windrum, Paul, 2010. "Innovation, qualitative change and economic development--Special issue in honour of Pier-Paolo Saviotti," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, March.
    11. Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "The present, past, and future of labor-saving technologies," LEM Papers Series 2020/37, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technological trajectories; Technological paradigms; Tanks; O30; D83;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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