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Can a Nation Learn? American Technology as a Network Phenomenon

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  • Gavin Wright

Abstract

December 1997 With specific reference to the American surge into world economic leadership in the decades bracketing the turn of the twentieth century, the paper advances two propositions: First, that American technological progress was a network phenomenon, growing out of the actions of large numbers of interacting people -- not necessarily in formally structured institutions of coordination. Second, that these networks were strongly national in character. An implication is that American industrial firms were able to institutionalize research and development programs successfully after 1900, in large part because they could draw upon, extend, and channel the energies of previously existing technological networks. In a real sense the learning was national.

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  • Gavin Wright, 1997. "Can a Nation Learn? American Technology as a Network Phenomenon," Working Papers 98001, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:98001
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    Cited by:

    1. Freeman, Chris, 2001. "A hard landing for the 'New Economy'? Information technology and the United States national system of innovation," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 115-139, July.
    2. David Prentice, 2006. "A re-examination of the origins of American industrial success," Working Papers 2006.02, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    3. Knick Harley, 2003. "Growth theory and industrial revolutions in Britain and America," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 809-831, November.
    4. Howitt, Peter & Mayer-Foulkes, David, 2005. "R&D, Implementation, and Stagnation: A Schumpeterian Theory of Convergence Clubs," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(1), pages 147-177, February.

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