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A Simple Combinatorial Model of World Economic History

Roger Koppl, Abigail Devereaux, Jim Herriot and Stuart Kauffman

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Abstract: We use a simple combinatorial model of technological change to explain the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution was a sudden large improvement in technology, which resulted in significant increases in human wealth and life spans. In our model, technological change is combining or modifying earlier goods to produce new goods. The underlying process, which has been the same for at least 200,000 years, was sure to produce a very long period of relatively slow change followed with probability one by a combinatorial explosion and sudden takeoff. Thus, in our model, after many millennia of relative quiescence in wealth and technology, a combinatorial explosion created the sudden takeoff of the Industrial Revolution.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro and nep-his
Date: 2018-11
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