The Process of Economic Development

By James M. Cypher; James L. Dietz | Go to book overview

13

Technology and development
After studying this chapter, you should understand:
• what "technology" is;
• the distinction between an "independent technology learning capacity" (ITLC) and an "independent technology creating capacity" (ITCC);
• the connection between specific forms of human capital accumulation, technological progress and the level of development;
• the role of facilitating and obstructing institutions in the spread of technology;
• the imbedded nature of technology in a particular society's institutions and organizational structure;
• the importance of appropriate state action in helping to provide the complementary inputs for capturing the benefits of "best practice" technological change;
• the need for a strategy of "technological autonomy" based upon domestic sources of financial capital, entrepreneurship and science to create a dynamic "national technology."

Introduction

The significance of technological change to economic growth and development has been verified again and again in empirical studies. The endogenous growth theories considered in Chapter 8 and in the World Bank study (1993) of the East Asian economies confirmed these results. Even the research based on neoclassical growth models has found that the basic factors of production, capital, and labor, cannot explain all of economic growth. It is often the "residual," that is, the unidentified variables which contribute to increased productivity, including technology, organization, and institutional structures, which carry the weight of "explaining" economic growth over time and the differences among countries. In this chapter, we consider in more detail what is meant by technology, what preconditions are required if a country is to make effective use of technology as the structural transformation process proceeds forward, and what countries need to do to take better advantage of the ever-expanding world pool of technological opportunities.

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