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Driving forces of technological change: The relation between population growth and technological innovation

Mario Coccia ()

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2014, vol. 82, issue C, 52-65

Abstract: Population growth is one of the major problems facing the world today because it affects the patterns of sustainable economic growth. The economic phenomenon to be explained in this study is the relation between population growth and technological outputs (patents), focusing on OECD countries, in order to analyze the range of population growth rates favorable to support higher technological output, ceteris paribus. The study seems to show the existence of an inverted-U shaped curve between population growth rate and patents, with an optimal intermediate area in which population growth rates tend to be associated to higher technological outputs. The public policy consequences of this vital relation are that, on average, it is difficult to support an optimal level of technological performance with both a low/negative and a high (higher than 1%) population growth rate-annual % in advanced nations. A main consequence is that the estimated relationship of technological outputs vs. population growth is likely to be affected by decreasing returns of technological innovation to population growth, because a higher population might decrease research productivity, which is sensitive to the relation between income per capita and population growth.

Keywords: Population; Population growth; Technological innovation; Technological change; Demographic change; Patents; Economic change (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O33 J10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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