Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 31–53 | Cite as

Technological Opportunity and Growth

  • Ola Olsson


The article presents a model of technological opportunity, modeled as a resource that is exhaustible in the short run but renewable in the long run. The exploitation and regeneration of technological opportunity is the result of an interplay between intentional incremental and radical innovations and unintentionally made discoveries. The setting for the basic model is a multidimensional metric space where existing ideas are convexly combined in order to create new ideas. When the basic set theoretical features are included in a long-run R&D model, we derive the implications for paradigm duration as well as for the growth rate of technological knowledge. We show that whereas a larger pool of R&D workers have an ambiguous effect on the short run technological growth rate, it will lead to more frequent paradigm shifts in the long run.


technological opportunity technological progress innovation growth paradigm 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aghion, P., Howitt, P. 1992‘A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction”Econometrica60323351Google Scholar
  2. Aghion, P., Howitt, P. 1998Endogenous Growth Theory.MIT PressCambridge, MassGoogle Scholar
  3. Bijker, W. E., Hughes, T. P., Pinch, T. J. 1987The Social Construction of Technological Systems.MIT PressCambridge, MassGoogle Scholar
  4. Boldrin, M, Levine, DK 2001Growth Cycles and Market CrashesJournal of Economic Theory961339Google Scholar
  5. Bresnahan, T, Trajtenberg, M 1995‘General Purpose Technologies: ‘Engines of Growth?”’ournal of EconometricsJ 6583108Google Scholar
  6. Caballero, R., and A. Jaffe. (1993). ‘How High Are the Giants’ Shoulders?: An Empirical Assessment of Knowledge Spillovers and Creative Destruction in a Model of Economic Growth”, Working Paper No. 4370, NBER.Google Scholar
  7. Dosi, G. 1988‘Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation”Journal of Economic Literature2611201171Google Scholar
  8. Evenson, RE, Kislev, Y 1976‘A Stochastic Model of Applied Research”Journal of Political Economy84265281Google Scholar
  9. Galor, O, Tsiddon, D 1997‘Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth”American Economic Review87363382Google Scholar
  10. Griliches, Z 1979‘Issues in Assessing the Contribution of RD to Productivity Growth”Bell Journal of Economics1092116Google Scholar
  11. Helpman, E. (1998)(ed.). General Purpose Technologies and Growth. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Helpman, E., and M. Trajtenberg. (1998). ‘A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap: Growth Based on General Purpose Technologies”, in Helpman (ed.), pp. 55–85.Google Scholar
  13. Hughes, T. (1987). ‘The Evolution of Large Technological Systems”, in Bijker et al. (eds), pp. 51–82.Google Scholar
  14. Jaffe, A 1986‘Technological Opportunities and Spillovers of RD: Evidence from Firms’ Patents, Profits, and Market Value”American Economic Review769841001Google Scholar
  15. Jones, C 1995‘RD-Based Models of Economic Growth”Journal of Political Economy103759784Google Scholar
  16. Jovanovic, B, Rob, R 1990‘Long Waves and Short Waves: Growth Through Intensive and Extensive Search”Econometrica5813911409Google Scholar
  17. Kauffman, S, Lobo, J, Macready, WG 2000‘Optimal Search on a Technology Landscape”ournal of Economic Behaviour and OrganizationJ 43141166Google Scholar
  18. Keely, L 2002‘Pursuing Problems in Growth”Journal of Economic Growth7283308Google Scholar
  19. Kelly, M 2001‘Linkages, Thresholds, and Development”Journal of Economic Growth63953Google Scholar
  20. Kortum, S 1997‘Research, Patenting, and Technological Change”Econometrica6513891419Google Scholar
  21. Kuhn, T. 1962The Structure of Scientific RevolutionsUniversity of Chicago PressChicagoGoogle Scholar
  22. Maddison, A. 1982Phases of Capitalist DevelopmentOxford University PressOxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Mensch, G. 1979Stalemate in Technology.Ballinger Publishing CompanyCambridge, MassGoogle Scholar
  24. Mokyr, J. 1990The Lever of RichesOxford University PressOxfordGoogle Scholar
  25. Mokyr, J. 2002The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy.Princeton University PressPrinceton, NJGoogle Scholar
  26. Olsson, O 2000‘Knowledge as a Set in Idea Space: An Epistemological View on Growth”Journal of Economic Growth5253276Google Scholar
  27. Peretto, P, Smulders, S 2002‘Technological Distance, Growth, and Scale Effects”Economic Journal112603624Google Scholar
  28. Romer, P 1990‘Endogenous Technological Change”Journal of Political Economy9870102Google Scholar
  29. Schmookler, J. 1966Invention and Economic Growth.Harvard University PressCambridge, MassGoogle Scholar
  30. Schumpeter, J. 1934The Theory of Economic DevelopmentTransactions PublishersLondonGoogle Scholar
  31. Weitzman, M 1998‘Recombinant Growth”Quarterly Journal of Economics113331360Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ola Olsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden

Personalised recommendations