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Toward a non-linear dynamics of technical progress

Author: Ayres, Robert U. INSEAD Area: Economics and Political ScienceIn: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, vol. 24, no. 1, June 1994 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 35-69.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask the Library for this articleAbstract: The paper explores the characteristics of technological change from an historical perspective. In particular, it attempts to elucidate the nature of the pattern of successive "breakthroughs", followed by rapid improvementand scale-up, followed by maturation and an approach to (configuration-dependent) physical limits - followed by a new breakthrough. The paper proceeds with the analysis of a number of specific cases of technological evolution. Several examples are presented that clearly simplify the barrier/breakthrough pattern. But other important examples (semi-conductors and computers) seem to offer alternative interpretations, e.g. "continuous breakthrough". The paper concludes with a discussion of the notion of technological distance and some tentative generalizations that might prompt further research
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The paper explores the characteristics of technological change from an historical perspective. In particular, it attempts to elucidate the nature of the pattern of successive "breakthroughs", followed by rapid improvementand scale-up, followed by maturation and an approach to (configuration-dependent) physical limits - followed by a new breakthrough. The paper proceeds with the analysis of a number of specific cases of technological evolution. Several examples are presented that clearly simplify the barrier/breakthrough pattern. But other important examples (semi-conductors and computers) seem to offer alternative interpretations, e.g. "continuous breakthrough". The paper concludes with a discussion of the notion of technological distance and some tentative generalizations that might prompt further research

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