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Path Dependence and QWERTY's Lock-In: Toward a Veblenian Interpretation

John Hall, Iciar Dominguez Lacasa () and Jutta Günther

Journal of Economic Issues, 2011, vol. 45, issue 2, 457-464

Abstract: In "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," Paul David challenges an overarching, mainstream assumption that market forces should indeed lead toward efficient and optimal outcomes that include technology selection. David seeks to explain the endurance of technologies that his use of historiography judges inefficient and suboptimal. We challenge David's research, arguing that failure to consider the original institutional economics (OIE) tradition limits his grasp of complex processes to reduced notions of "path dependence" based upon a "lock-in." This inquiry offers an alternative account of QWERTY and technology selection based upon Veblenian thinking, further supported by Paul Dale Bush's emphasis upon the ceremonial.

Date: 2011
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DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450223

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Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:45:y:2011:i:2:p:457-464