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A New View of General Purpose Technologies

Author

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  • Uwe Cantner

    (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Simone Vannuccini

    (Graduate College "The Economics of Innovative Change", University of Jena)

Abstract

The economic literature started to recognize the heterogeneity characterizing the nature of different technologies, introducing the concept of General Purpose Technologies. In this paper, we offer a "new view of General Purpose Technologies", building on the historical as well as on the recent literature, enquiring more in deep the definitional problems related to the GPTs and the conditions for their emergence, together with the characteristic for their prevalence and pervasiveness. A Schumpeterian and evolutionary view pointing at the micro and meso level of analysis - that of the dynamics of firms and industries -, is in our view the privileged perspective economists need to adopt in order to revitalize the theoretical and empirical study of GPTs. The similarities with the emergence of dominant designs and the relations with dynamics of increasing returns and path dependency in the choice between alternative technologies offer us a set of tools well suited to study the establishment of GPTs as a process unfolding in time, more than as a single homogeneous shock.

Suggested Citation

  • Uwe Cantner & Simone Vannuccini, 2012. "A New View of General Purpose Technologies," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-054, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-054
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    3. Uwe Cantner & Simone Vannuccini, 2017. "Innovation and lock-in," Chapters, in: Harald Bathelt & Patrick Cohendet & Sebastian Henn & Laurent Simon (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Innovation and Knowledge Creation, chapter 11, pages 165-181, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Ulrich Schmitt, 2021. "Reframing a Novel Decentralized Knowledge Management Concept as a Desirable Vision: As We May Realize the Memex," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(7), pages 1-37, April.
    5. Colin Wessendorf & Alexander Kopka & Dirk Fornahl, 2021. "The impact of the six European Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) on regional knowledge creation," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2127, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Sep 2021.
    6. Darío Vázquez, 2020. "Variety patterns in defense and health technological systems: evidence from international trade data," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 949-988, September.
    7. Clifford Bekar & Kenneth Carlaw & Richard Lipsey, 2018. "General purpose technologies in theory, application and controversy: a review," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 28(5), pages 1005-1033, December.
    8. Mark Knell & Simone Vannuccini, 2022. "Tools and concepts for understanding disruptive technological change after Schumpeter," Jena Economic Research Papers 2022-005, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    9. Raiteri, Emilio, 2018. "A time to nourish? Evaluating the impact of public procurement on technological generality through patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 936-952.
    10. Ulrich Schmitt, 2021. "Projectability and Heritage Management of Design Knowledge: A Grass-Roots Artefact Perspective of a Longitudinal Research Project for Knowledge Management System Innovation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(23), pages 1-18, November.
    11. RAITERI Emilio, 2015. "A time to nourish? Evaluating the impact of innovative public procurement on technological generality through patent data," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2015-05, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    12. Matheus E. Leusin & Bjoern Jindra & Daniel S. Hain, 2021. "An evolutionary view on the emergence of Artificial Intelligence," Papers 2102.00233, arXiv.org.
    13. Josef Taalbi, 2019. "Origins and pathways of innovation in the third industrial revolution1," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 1125-1148.
    14. Cantner, Uwe & Vannuccini, Simone, 2021. "Pervasive technologies and industrial linkages: Modeling acquired purposes," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 386-399.
    15. Taalbi, Josef, 2017. "Origins and Pathways of Innovation in the Third Industrial Revolution: Sweden, 1950-2013," Lund Papers in Economic History 159, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    16. Korzinov, Vladimir & Savin, Ivan, 2018. "General Purpose Technologies as an emergent property," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 88-104.
    17. Simone Vannuccini & Ekaterina Prytkova, 2021. "Artificial Intelligence’s New Clothes? From General Purpose Technology to Large Technical System," SPRU Working Paper Series 2021-02, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    18. Uwe Cantner & Holger Graf & Ekaterina Prytkova & Simone Vannuccini, 2018. "The Compositional Nature of Productivity and Innovation Slowdown," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-006, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    General Purpose Technologies; Long Waves; Business Cycles; Dominant design; Pervasiveness of technologies; Neo-Schumpeterian economics.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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