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Technological Evolution, Variety and the Economy

Pier Paolo Saviotti, INRA-SERD, Pierre Mendès University, Grenoble and IDEFI-CNRS-UNSA Sophia-Antipolis, France
With qualitative technological change as its central theme and featuring detailed discussion of the current state of evolutionary theories, Technological Evolution, Variety and the Economy will be welcomed by economists working in innovation, technical change and industrial organization.
Awarded the 1997 Myrdal Prize
Extent: 240 pp
Hardback Price: £96.00 Web: £86.40
Publication Date: 1996
ISBN: 978 1 85278 774 5
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Evolutionary Economics
  • Industrial Organisation
Technological Evolution, Variety and the Economy discusses the fundamental role played by qualitative change in economic development, the contribution made by technological change and innovation, and the analysis of these phenomena in terms of evolutionary theories.

Pier Paolo Saviotti’s major new book goes beyond studying the effects of technological change on known economic variables. In addressing the actors and mechanisms of technological change, Dr Saviotti focuses first on changes in product technology and then examines the evolution of organizations with special reference to their use of information and knowledge. Using an evolutionary framework, he develops a model of technological evolution based on replicator dynamics which explicitly introduces these key actors and mechanisms. An in-depth discussion of the present state of evolutionary theories focuses on their methodological foundations and applicability to learning in organizations.

With qualitative technological change as its central theme and featuring detailed discussion of the current state of evolutionary theories, Technological Evolution, Variety and the Economy will be welcomed by economists working in innovation, technical change and industrial organization.
‘The main strength of the book as a whole is that it takes the nature and sources of technical change seriously, and points to a number of potentially useful directions of future research, and to formal techniques and models that could help. . . . an unconventional and stimulating book that should be read by all those concerned with understanding technological change and its economic efforts.’
– Keith Pavitt, Journal of Evolutionary Economics

‘This book takes an evolutionary approach to technological change and economic growth. . . . One of the book’s most refreshing central features is its concentration on product innovation rather than the more usual emphasis on process innovation.’
– Richard G. Lipsey, The Economic Journal

‘In this work Saviotti has made a substantive contribution to the development of a set of new concepts and, hopefully, the growth of variety within economic theory.’
– Bryan Morgan, EAEPE Newsletter

‘A significant contribution which develops and consolidates Saviotti’s recognized work on the role of technological variety in economic evolution. It is well structured, clearly written and on the whole an excellent work.’
– Geoffrey M. Hodgson, University of Hertfordshire, UK
Contents: 1. Introduction Part I: The Nature of Evolutionary Theories and Their Relationship to Neoclassical Economics 2. Some Methodological Considerations about the Local Character of Knowledge and about the Comparability of Theories 3. What is Evolutionary Economics Now? Part II: A Model of Technological Evolution 4. A Characteristic and Population approach to Technological Evolution 5. Variety, Economic and Technological Development 6. A Model of Technological Evolution based on Replicator Dynamics Part III: 7. Variety, Organizations and Information 8. Knowledge, the Environment and Organizational Structures 9. The Concept of National System of Innovation 10. Summary and Conclusions References Index