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Technology as Problem-Solving Procedures and Technology as Input-Output Relations: Some Perspectives on the Theory of Production

  • Giovanni Dosi
  • Marco Grazzi

In this work, inspired by Winter [2006], in fact of vintage 1968, we discuss the relation between three di erent levels of analysis of technologies, namely as (i) bodies of problem-solving knowledge, (ii) organizational procedures, and (iii) input-output relations. We begin by arguing that the "primitive" levels of investigation, "where the action is", are those which concern knowledge and organizational procedures, while in most respects the I/O representation is just an ex post, derived, one. Next, we outline what we consider to be important advances in the understanding of productive knowledge and of the nature and behaviors of business organizations which to a good extent embody such a knowledge. Finally, we explore some implications of such "procedural" view of technologies in terms of input-output relations (of which standard production functions are a particular instantiation). We do that with the help of some pieces of evidence, drawing both upon incumbent literature and our own elaboration on micro longitudinal data on the Italian industry.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2005/26.

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Date of creation: 13 Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2005/26
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  1. John R. Baldwin & Wulong Gu, 2006. "Plant turnover and productivity growth in Canadian manufacturing," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 417-465, June.
  2. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2004. "Microeconomic Evidence of Creative Destruction in Industrial and Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Chesher, Andrew, 1979. "Testing the Law of Proportionate Effect," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 403-11, June.
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  5. C. Antonelli, 2007. "Localized Technological Change," Chapters, in: Elgar Companion to Neo-Schumpeterian Economics, chapter 16 Edward Elgar.
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  8. Cohen, Michael D, et al, 1996. "Routines and Other Recurring Action Patterns of Organizations: Contemporary Research Issues," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(3), pages 653-98.
  9. Z, Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1997. "Production Functions : The Search for Identification," Working Papers 97-30, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  10. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
  11. Fisher, Franklin M, 1971. "Aggregate Production Functions and the Explanation of Wages: A Simulation Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 305-25, November.
  12. Hildenbrand, Werner, 1981. "Short-Run Production Functions Based on Microdata," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1095-1125, September.
  13. John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. Sidney G. Winter, 2002. "Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Production," LEM Papers Series 2002/27, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  15. Dosi Giovanni, 2008. "Statistical Regularities in the Evolution of Industries. A Guide through Some Evidence and Challenges for the Theory," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 185-220.
  16. Simar, L. & Wilson, P.W., 1999. "Statistical Inference in Nonparametric Frontier Models: the State of the Art," Papers 9904, Catholique de Louvain - Institut de statistique.
  17. Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Marengo, Luigi, et al, 2000. "The Structure of Problem-Solving Knowledge and the Structure of Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 757-88, December.
  19. Giulio Bottazzi & Elena Cefis & Giovanni Dosi & Angelo Secchi, 2003. "Invariances and Diversities in the Evolution of Manufacturing Industries," LEM Papers Series 2003/21, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  20. Pavitt, Keith, 1991. "What makes basic research economically useful?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 109-119, April.
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  22. Schefold, Bertram, 1976. "Different Forms of Technical Progress," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 86(344), pages 806-19, December.
  23. Marengo, Luigi & Dosi, Giovanni, 2005. "Division of labor, organizational coordination and market mechanisms in collective problem-solving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 303-326, October.
  24. Nelson, Richard R, 1981. "Research on Productivity Growth and Productivity Differences: Dead Ends and New Departures," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 1029-64, September.
  25. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-78, September.
  26. Shaikh, Anwar, 1974. "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 115-20, February.
  27. Levinthal, Daniel A, 1998. "The Slow Pace of Rapid Technological Change: Gradualism and Punctuation in Technological Change," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 217-47, June.
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