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Economics, Science and Technology

Steven Payson, Chief, Special Studies Branch, Government Division, Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Department of Commerce, Washington, DC and Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration, US Department of Agriculture and the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program, Georgetown University, US
Economists need to understand some fundamental aspects of science in order to measure and analyse the process of technological change. This book explores the interrelationships between economics, science and technology in order to find ways of improving economists’ approaches to technical change.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: £96.00 Web: £86.40
Publication Date: 2000
ISBN: 978 1 85898 672 2
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economics of Innovation
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Economics of Innovation
  • Technology and ICT
Economists need to understand some fundamental aspects of science in order to measure and analyse the process of technological change. This book explores the interrelationships between economics, science and technology in order to find ways of improving economists’ approaches to technical change.

Dr Payson begins by offering a scientific critique of economic discourse and presents a unique, unconstrained and critical view of the behavioral differences between economists and scientists. The economic literature on technological change is analysed in order to assess economists’ approach to science. The author then offers concrete solutions for the useful economic study of technological change including alternative methods of classifying data based on scientific principles, a characteristics approach to measuring physical capital, and a futuristic exploration into how artificial intelligence may improve economics.
‘A major novelty of the book lies in its use of refreshingly new evidence from the natural sciences to question the scientific status of orthodox economics. . . . Readers who are interested in methodological issues in economics will find much of the book a very good read.’
– Steve Onyeiwu, Review of Social Economy

‘A hard-hitting and thought-provoking interdisciplinary, futuristic and critical approach to major issues in economic thought, natural science and technical change. Provides ideas for determining future areas of research, better methods of collecting and classifying data and more effective policy decisions. This book is valuable to a range of readers interested in the inter-relationships between economics, science and technology.’
– Aslib Book Guide

‘Researchers, graduate students, and upper-division undergraduates interested in measurement issues in economics will find parts of this book valuable.’
– J.L. Rosenbloom, Choice

‘A multi-disciplinary, thought-provoking, critical look at the economics profession and its relation to science and technology. The argument for function-based characteristics is especially interesting.’
– David C. Colander, Middlebury College, Vermont, US

‘Payson breaks out of the disciplinary bounds that have long constrained economists’ perceptions of the complex adaptive systems that arise from the interaction of economics, science, and technology. The interdisciplinary approach taken exposes questionable assumptions and empty formalisms, while offering fresh, wide-ranging insights that will stimulate the reader. Clearly presented and well reasoned, it constitutes an impressive effort.’
– Harold A. Linstone, Editor-in-Chief, Technological Forecasting and Social Change

‘Payson’s representative goods approach provides a useful new technique for measuring quality change. He applies it to an interesting data set and, in so doing, provides substantial empirical insights into product quality and technological change.’
– The Economic Journal
Contents: Preface Part I: A Scientific Critique of Economic Discourse 1. Economics of Science versus Science of Economics 2. The Difference in Behavior Between Economists and Scientists 3. Measurement in Economics Must be Taken More Seriously Part II: Economic Literature on Scientific Advancement, Technological Change and Related Topics 4. Science as a Public Good 5. Subfields on the Economic Effects of Scientific Research 6. Economic Literature on Technological Change Part III: New Attitudes, Philosophies, Frameworks and Models 7. Product Evolution and the Case for Function-Based Classification 8. Business Interests in Scientific Discoveries 9. Capital Input – It Need Not be Metaphysical 10. Conclusion References Index