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Intentionality and technological and institutional change: Implications for economic development

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  • Muñoz, Félix

    () (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.)

  • Encinar, María Isabel

    (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.)

  • Fernández-de-Pinedo, Nadia

    () (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.)

Abstract

The interactive implementation of agents’ intentional actions generates new combinations that are at the base of structural change and complexity and produce unexpected consequences. An interesting case of study is provided by the absorption of new technology strategies for development. A common hypothesis is that development requires an institutional arrangement that allows for the exploitation of imported technology. However, historical examples (such as Cuba in the nineteenth century) show how the technological choices of highly innovative entrepreneurial élites may generate a trap of development even though institutions are conveniently adapted to accommodate new technology. To understand the nature of this type of development trap, we introduce a micro-meso-macro analytical approach based on Dopfer & Potts (2008). Institutions and technology are meso rule trajectories that coevolve in an emergence-dissemination-retention process that interacts with both micro units (purposeful entrepreneurs) and the emergent macro properties of the system (development). Within this framework, it is shown how such a strategy for development may result in underdevelopment. The explanation is that, under special circumstances, the de-coordination and re-coordination processes of meso trajectories may be unable to generate enough variety to feed the evolutionary process, and they thereby catch agents in such a “techno-institutional trap”.

Suggested Citation

  • Muñoz, Félix & Encinar, María Isabel & Fernández-de-Pinedo, Nadia, 2014. "Intentionality and technological and institutional change: Implications for economic development," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2014/04, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
  • Handle: RePEc:uam:wpaper:201404
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    Keywords

    intentionality; institutional change; techno-institutional traps; development;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - 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
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N26 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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