The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Joel Mokyr
Reference work entry


Technology is the utilization of natural phenomena and regularities for human purposes. Propositional knowledge – sets of statements about natural regularities and phenomena – provides the epistemic base of technology, whose width largely determines society’s ability to generate technology. The high social rate of return to technology leads to underinvestment in new technology, justifying some government subsidization. Only since the eighteenth century have producers and scientists been systematically linked, allowing technology to flourish. Technology is the main factor driving economic growth; the scope for technology transfer ensures it will continue to be so, as long as the appropriate institutions are in place.


Ancient Rome China Competences Economic growth Endogenous technology Enlightenment Industrial revolution Innovation and invention Institutions Intellectual property rights Islam Isoquant Japan Judaism Patents Production function Propositional knowledge Rate of return Research Science Techniques Technology 

JEL Classification

N1 O3 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel Mokyr
    • 1
  1. 1.