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Algorithms and the Changing Frontier

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  • Hezekiah Agwara
  • Philip Auerswald
  • Brian Higginbotham

Abstract

We first summarize the dominant interpretations of the "frontier" in the United States and predecessor colonies over the past 400 years: agricultural (1610s-1880s), industrial (1890s-1930s), scientific (1940s- 1980s), and algorithmic (1990s-present). We describe the difference between the algorithmic frontier and the scientific frontier. We then propose that the recent phenomenon referred to as "globalization" is actually better understood as the progression of the algorithmic frontier, as enabled by standards that in turn have facilitated the interoperability of firm-level production algorithms. We conclude by describing implications of the advance of the algorithmic frontier for scientific discovery and technological innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Hezekiah Agwara & Philip Auerswald & Brian Higginbotham, 2014. "Algorithms and the Changing Frontier," NBER Working Papers 20039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20039 Note: PR
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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