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Intentionality and technological and institutional change: Implications for economic development

Félix-Fernando Muñoz, María Isabel Encinar and Nadia Fernández-de-Pinedo ()
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María Isabel Encinar: Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Nadia Fernández-de-Pinedo: Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Nadia Fernandez de Pinedo

No 2014/04, Working Papers in Economic Theory from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History)

Abstract: The interactive implementation of agents’ intentional actions generates new combinations that are at the base of structural change and complexity and produce unexpected consequences. An interesting case of study is provided by the absorption of new technology strategies for development. A common hypothesis is that development requires an institutional arrangement that allows for the exploitation of imported technology. However, historical examples (such as Cuba in the nineteenth century) show how the technological choices of highly innovative entrepreneurial élites may generate a trap of development even though institutions are conveniently adapted to accommodate new technology. To understand the nature of this type of development trap, we introduce a micro-meso-macro analytical approach based on Dopfer & Potts (2008). Institutions and technology are meso rule trajectories that coevolve in an emergence-dissemination-retention process that interacts with both micro units (purposeful entrepreneurs) and the emergent macro properties of the system (development). Within this framework, it is shown how such a strategy for development may result in underdevelopment. The explanation is that, under special circumstances, the de-coordination and re-coordination processes of meso trajectories may be unable to generate enough variety to feed the evolutionary process, and they thereby catch agents in such a “techno-institutional trap”.

Keywords: intentionality; institutional change; techno-institutional traps; development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B52 N16 N26 O10 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 42 pages
Date: 2014-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse and nep-hme
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