New Perspectives on Economic Growth and Technological Innovation

New Perspectives on Economic Growth and Technological Innovation

New Perspectives on Economic Growth and Technological Innovation

New Perspectives on Economic Growth and Technological Innovation

Synopsis

Two hundred years ago, the first Industrial Revolution sparked a dramatic acceleration in the quantity of goods and services available to the average citizen--a trend of steadily increasing real income per capita that continues to this day. Since that time, economists have struggled to develop systematic explanations for what caused the sudden, rapid increase, why the economy keeps growing, and why the rate of growth varies in different time periods and nations. In this book, F. M. Scherer traces the evolution of economic growth theory from the Industrial Revolution to the present. Emphasizing technological change as the most crucial dynamic force for growth, Scherer analyzes early hypotheses that paid little attention to new technologies, follows the emergence of theories that increasingly emphasized technological change, and reviews the current state of economic growth theory. Pointing out a lack of solid microbehavioral foundations to support contemporary "new growth" ideas, Scherer then supplies some foundational "bricks" concerning financial investment and human capital, and concludes by exploring the prospects for sustaining rapid growth into the next century. Copublished with the British-North American Committee

Excerpt

Following three turbulent decades, there are signs that vigorous economic growth is attaining renewed momentum in North America and Europe. Many of the Asian "tiger" nations, on the other hand, have suffered catastrophic reverses in what had previously been extraordinarily successful growth experiences. Because growth in the output of goods and services is almost synonymous with increases in the material well-being of nations' citizens, the sources of economic growth and the prospects for sustaining it through the twenty-first century are matters of extraordinary interest to business, trade union, and government leaders alike.

After struggling with the question for more than two centuries, economists have begun to advance new theories of how economic growth occurs and what conditions its sustenance demands. To explore these new perspectives, the British--North American Committee (BNAC) asked one of its members, Professor F. M. Scherer of the John E. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University . . .

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