This paper attempts to provide microfoundations for the knowledge production function in an idea-based growth model. Production of new ideas is made a function of newly reconfigured old ideas in the spirit of the way an agricultural research station develops improved plant varieties by cross-pollinating existing plant varieties. The model shows how knowledge can build upon itself in a combinatoric feedback process that may have significant implications for economic growth. The paper's main theme is that the ultimate limits to growth lie not so much in our ability to generate new ideas as in our ability to process an abundance of potentially new ideas into usable form. © 2000 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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