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Edited by Cristiano Antonelli
Chapter 7: The Dynamics of Technological Knowledge: From Linearity to Recombination
Jackie Krafft and Francesco Quatraro 1. INTRODUCTION Innovation and technological knowledge have long attracted the interest of scholars in economics. Most of the attention has been paid by the pioneers in the economics of innovation to the economic effects of the introduction of new technological knowledge as well as to the structural conditions better triggering innovative performances. This has paved the way to an empirically grounded research tradition which has initially considered knowledge as a homogeneous stock, as if it were the outcome of a quite uniform and fluid process of accumulation made possible by R&D investments, the same way as capital stock. This made it possible to include knowledge capital stock within an extended production function framework, as an additional input to labour and fixed capital (Griliches, 1979; Mansfield, 1980). The focus therein was on the empirical assessment of the impact of technological knowledge on economic performances. Yet, very little was known about how new knowledge is brought about and, consequently, about how to provide a representation of knowledge that could be meaningful also from the epistemological viewpoint. Technology was mostly a black box, which began to be explored in depth with a significant lapse of time. The idea progressively arose that knowledge was something more than the mere outcome of a linear accumulation process. Indeed such an idea was grounded on theoretical reflections on the nature of knowledge creation processes, with a particular emphasis on the concept of search and on the institutions involved in the production...
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