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Rethinking Invention: Cognition and the Economics of Technological Creativity

  • Gary B. Magee

Economists have typically not devoted much attention to the act of invention. This paper attempts to redress this situation by exploring a form of cognition, analogical transfer, which is thought by some researchers to lie at the heart of successful creativity. An analogical transfer is said to have occurred when information and experiences from one known situation is retrieved and utilized in the search for the solution to an entirely different situation. This paper shows how such analogical thought can give rise to a theoretical framework, in which disparate factors pertaining to technological creativity can be pieced together to yield an explanation of the level of inventive output experienced.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 861.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:861
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
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  1. DeBresson, Chris & Amesse, Fernand, 1991. "Networks of innovators :A review and introduction to the issue," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 363-379, October.
  2. Cowan, Robin & Foray, Dominique, 1997. "The Economics of Codification and the Diffusion of Knowledge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 595-622, September.
  3. Dosi, Giovanni, 1997. "Opportunities, Incentives and the Collective Patterns of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1530-47, September.
  4. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521581974 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Lawton Smith, Helen & Dickson, Keith & Smith, Stephen Lloyd, 1991. ""There are two sides to every story": Innovation and collaboration within networks of large and small firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 457-468, October.
  7. Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John, 1994. "Better than Rational: Evolutionary Psychology and the Invisible Hand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 327-32, May.
  8. Glasmeier, Amy, 1991. "Technological discontinuities and flexible production networks: The case of Switzerland and the world watch industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 469-485, October.
  9. Tripsas, Mary, 1997. "Surviving Radical Technological Change through Dynamic Capability: Evidence from the Typesetter Industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 341-77, March.
  10. Magee, Gary Bryan, 1999. "Technological Development and Foreign Patenting: Evidence from 19th-Century Australia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 344-359, October.
  11. Nonaka, Ikujiro & Toyama, Ryoko & Nagata, Akiya, 2000. "A Firm as a Knowledge-Creating Entity: A New Perspective on the Theory of the Firm," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-20, March.
  12. Liebeskind, Julia Porter, 1997. "Keeping Organizational Secrets: Protective Institutional Mechanisms and Their Costs," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 623-63, September.
  13. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  14. Weitzman, Martin L, 1996. "Hybridizing Growth Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 207-12, May.
  15. Teubal, Morris & Yinnon, Tamar & Zuscovitch, Ehud, 1991. "Networks and market creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 381-392, October.
  16. Rosenkopf, Lori & Tushman, Michael L, 1998. "The Coevolution of Community Networks and Technology: Lessons from the Flight Simulation Industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 311-46, June.
  17. Bianchi, Patrizio & Bellini, Nicola, 1991. "Public policies for local networks of innovators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 487-497, October.
  18. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1987. "Profit Sharing--Can It Work?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 1-19, March.
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