Technology and the Pursuit of Economic Growth

Technology and the Pursuit of Economic Growth

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Technology's contribution to economic growth and competitiveness has been the subject of vigorous debate in recent years. This book demonstrates the importance of a historical perspective in understanding the role of technological innovation in the economy. The authors examine key episodes and institutions in the development of the U.S. research system and in the development of the research systems of other industrial economies. They argue that the large potential contributions of economics to the understanding of technology and economic growth have been constrained by the narrow theoretical framework employed within neoclassical economies. A richer framework, they believe, will support a more fruitful dialogue among economists, policymakers, and managers on the organization of public and private institutions for innovation. David Mowery is Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy at the School of Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley. Nathan S. Rosenberg is Fairleigh Dickinson Professor of Economics at Stanford University. He is the author of Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics (CUP, 1983).
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Product details

  • Paperback | 340 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.6 x 23.1mm | 453.6g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0521389364
  • 9780521389365

Back cover copy

This book offers a unique synthesis of historical studies, economic analysis, and policy debate on the conditions conducive to technological advance and economic growth.
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Table of contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. The need for a new framework for R&D analysis and policy; Part II. The Development Of The Institutional Structure, 1860-1940; 2. The growing role of science in the innovation process; 3. The beginnings of the commercial exploitation of science by US industry; 4. The US research system before 1945; 5. The organisation of industrial revolution in Great Britain, 1900-1950; Part III. The Development Of The Postwar System, 1940-1987; 6. The evolution of federal investment in research and development since World War II; 7. The US commercial aircraft industry; Part IV. New Environment, New Research Organisations: 8. The changing context of innovation, 1980-present; 9. International and domestic collaboration in research and development; 10. The merger of technology and trade policies; 11. Concluding observations; Bibliography.
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Review quote

"Mowery and Rosenberg are among the most productive scholars who, over the past decade, have revolutionized our understanding of how technical advance comes about. This book collects and builds from their recent work and the work of others. It will be of major interest to scholars, policy-makers, and all others intrigued by the question of how technical advance comes about, and how the system currently is changing." Richard Nelson, Columbia University "In Technology and the Pursuit of Economic Growth, Mowery and Rosenberg address critical organizational structure questions which impact the innovation process, such as the role of the corporate R&D laboratory, cooperation between industry and universities, and research consortia. Their basic concern is with how research results get utilized in the national systems of innovation characterizing the U.S., Japan and Great Britain....In particular, they suggest that science and technology policy must pay as much attention to the utilization of research results as they do to their creation...Technology and the Pursuit of Economic Growth is, thus, essential reading for the science and technology policy community and for those wishing a better understanding of American technological performance." David J. Teece, Director, Center for Research in Management, University of California, Berkeley "Doubts are thrown on many common prescriptions for policy by this fine study, which is worth far more than the exhortations that have become so frequent." Foreign Affairs "Mowery and Rosenberg have produced a thoughtful and scholarly study that describes not only the evolution of the current technological research system but how and why that system should be restructured in the future." Choice "Technology and the Pursuit of Economic Growth is a challenging study that historians interested in research and development, trade policies, and international competitiveness will not want to overlook." David A. Hounshell, The Journal of American History "The book is full of interesting things for any economist who believes technical change is important, and who wants to understand how it comes about within the changing U.S and international context. It provides an excellent historical overview of the development of the U.S. R&D system. More generally, it does a fine job of presenting the understanding of technical change and the institutions supporting it that increasingly is shared among economists who have studied these issues in detail, an understanding that is significantly different in important respects from conventional wisdom among lay persons, and even among economists." Richard R. Nelson, Journal of Economic Literature "Mowery and Rosenberg have written an ambitious three-part book. One part is a history of the development of technology in the United States, the second is an analysis of what they call the 'US research system,' and the third is a critique of current US technology policies....The last theme of the book is the effectiveness of public policy towards technology. Throughout their historical accounts the authors implicitly or explicitly assign grades to various policies or institutions for their contributions to economic growth. Such an examination includes the policies of the United States , Japan and Britain. Mowery and Rosenberg see the future as one in which all nations are technological equals and there will be extensive collaborations of firms across national boundaries." Merton J. Peck, Science. "...a very thorough and rather ambitious account of the technological and scientific advances that have made this and the previous century memorable....The book is not only an interesting statistical and case history of R&D, it provides many valuable lessons for the future as well." The British-American Business Magazine "...both cogent and well written...." Dominick A. Pisano, Isis
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