nep-ino New Economics Papers
on Innovation
Issue of 2005‒02‒06
three papers chosen by
Koen Frenken
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. The autocatalytic character of the growth of production knowledge: What role does human labor play? By Thomas Brenner; Christian Cordes
  2. Technological Progress, Population Growth, Property Rights, and the Transition to Agriculture By Matthew J. Baker
  3. Dynamic Cities and Creative Clusters By Weiping Wu

  1. By: Thomas Brenner; Christian Cordes
    Abstract: This paper analyzes how the qualitative change in human labor occurs in mutual dependence with the advancement of the epistemic base of technology. Historically, a recurrent pattern can be identified: humans learned to successively transfer labor qualities to machines. The subsequent release of parts of the workforce from performing this labor enabled them to spend this spare time in the search for further technical innovations, i.e., the generation and application of ever-more knowledge. A model examines the autocatalytic relationship between the production of commodities and knowledge. The driving forces of these processes and the mechanisms that limit them are analyzed.
    Keywords: technological change; long-term economic development; production; productivity growth; labor market
    JEL: E23 J24 N30 O30 O40
  2. By: Matthew J. Baker (United States Naval Academy)
    Abstract: Following the rapidly growing literature on the Neolithic revolution, I develop a model of mankind’s initial transition to agriculture in which population and technological sophistication are both endogenous variables. I assume that total factor productivity in both agriculture and hunting and gathering depend on natural resource endowments and a general purpose technology, but that TFP in agriculture is relatively more dependent on technological sophistication than TFP in hunting and gathering, and that agriculture requires effort be expended in land enclosure. The model describes combinations of population pressure, technological sophistication, and resource endowments that are sufficient to generate a switch to agriculture and enclosure, but also admits the possibility that no switch will occur. I estimate the steady-state relationships of the model by applying a two-state, two-equation model with endogenous regime switching using information on the incidence of agriculture, population density, technology, and environment among 186 pre-modern societies. I find that habitat diversity, a relatively flat landscape, and exceptionally heavy rainfall are among factors contributing to total factor productivity in hunting and gathering, while soil quality, climate suitability and proximity to an ocean increase total factor productivity in agriculture. I also estimate that roughly ten percent of TFP in agriculture can be attributed to technological sophistication, while TFP in hunting and gathering is not influenced by technology. Among other things, I find evidence that endogenous growth effects may be responsible for approximately 40% of observed technological sophistication among agricultural societies, but do not appear important among hunter-gatherers
    Date: 2005–02
  3. By: Weiping Wu
    Abstract: Wu focuses on how urban policies and the clustering of creative industries has influenced urban outcomes. The set of creative industries include those with output protectable under some form of intellectual property law. More specifically, this subsector encompasses software, multimedia, video games, industrial design, fashion, publishing, and research and development. The cities that form the basis for the empirical investigations are those where policy-induced transitions have been most evident, including Boston; San Francisco; San Diego; Seattle; Austin; Washington, D.C.; Dublin (Ireland); Hong Kong (China); and Bangalore (India). The key research questions are: • What types of cities are creative? • What locational factors are essential? • What are the common urban policy initiatives used by creative cities? The author explores the importance of the external environment for innovation and places it in the larger context of national innovation systems. Based on a study of development in Boston and San Diego, he isolates the factors and policies that have contributed to the local clustering of particular creative industries. In both cities, universities have played a major role in catalyzing the local economy by generating cutting-edge research findings, proactively collaborating with industries, and supplying the needed human capital. In addition, these two cities benefited from the existence of anchor firms and active industry associations that promoted fruitful university-industry links. Many cities in East Asia are aspiring to become the creative hubs of the region. But their investments tend to be heavily biased toward infrastructure provision. Although this is necessary, the heavy emphasis on hardware can lead to underinvestment in developing the talents and skills needed for the emergence of creative industries in these cities. This paper—a product of the Development Research Group—was prepared for the East Asia Prospect Study.
    Keywords: Education; Industry; Private Sector Development; Urban Development
    Date: 2005–02–02

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