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The Economics of Frugal Innovation

Technological Change for Inclusion and Sustainability

9781035302321 Edward Elgar Publishing
Christian Le Bas, Professor of Economics, ESDES, Lyon Catholic University, France
Publication Date: February 2023 ISBN: 978 1 03530 232 1 Extent: c 208 pp
In light of the tremendous growth of frugal product and process innovations in emerging markets and Northern economies, this book offers a clear understanding of this new direction of technological change with a Schumpterian analytical frame. Characterizing frugal innovation as a new technological paradigm, it illuminates the relationship between frugality and sustainability.

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In light of the tremendous growth of frugal product and process innovations in both emerging markets and economies in the Global North, this book offers a clear understanding of this new direction of technological change within a Schumpterian analytical framework. Characterizing frugal innovation as a new technological paradigm, it illuminates the relationship between frugality and sustainability.

Christian Le Bas explores the key characteristics of frugal innovations: products with fewer artefacts, decreasing technological complexity and design simplification, using important case studies from around the globe. Chapters systematically synthesise economic knowledge on the topic, mapping the environmentally positive consequences of frugal innovation and identifying the crucial socio-economic and ecological contemporary issues that frugal innovation can help resolve.

Concise and timely, this book will be a useful resource for economics and management scholars and students. The tools for understanding the nature and scope of frugal innovation, as well as insights on it as sustainable innovation, also make this an important read for managers, decision makers and stakeholders.
Critical Acclaim
‘This fascinating book by Christian Le Bas unveils a radical change in the direction of product innovation: frugal innovation. New frugal products, “more durable, simple, effective, essential" compete with more sophisticated but more expensive goods. This is critical for developing economies but is becoming crucial for a large share of the demand of developed ones. The author has opened a new Pandora's box in the economics of innovation.’
– Cristiano Antonelli, University of Torino and Collegio Carlo Alberto, Italy

‘This is a fresh and important addition to the literature on frugal innovation. Christian Le Bas has done an excellent job in bringing key elements of the economics of frugal innovation together. This book will be a reference on any economics of innovation bookshelf.’
– Alexander Brem, University of Stuttgart, Germany
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