The origins of the economics of Innovation



Abstract. This study suggests that the origins of the economics of technical change go back to many years before Schumpeter’s contributions. The Scottish philosopher John Rae with his book Statement of Some New Principles on the Subject of Political Economy, issued in 1834, put forward the basis of the Economics of innovation individuating the nature, causes of technological innovations (e.g., steam engine) and effects of technological progress on economic growth of nations. Rae also discusses the evolution and role of vital technologies for the wealth and employment in Europe and North America. Overall, then, Rae’s work is basic for the origin of the Economics of innovation, for defining the domain of this discipline and for explaining the effects of vital technologies in society. However, the conclusions of this study are tentative. There is need for much more detailed research into this research topic. 

Keywords. Invention, History of technology, Economic growth, New technology, Technological change, Economics of innovation, Economics of technical change.

JEL. B11, B12, B31, B40, O30.


Invention; History of technology; Economic growth; New technology; Technological change; Economics of innovation; Economics of technical change.

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