Economics at your fingertips  

The invention of invention

Morgan Kelly

No 200515, Working Papers from School of Economics, University College Dublin

Abstract: This paper models an industrial revolution as a qualitative transition from a world where innovation is infrequent and haphazard to one where it is continuous and systematic. Pre-industrial innovation is treated as a social process where an individual's effectiveness as an innovator depends on the skills of other individuals in his social network. As technology improves, individuals invest more time in learning through social contact. This gradual increase in linkage formation leads to a sudden change in the size of knowledge networks from small, isolated clusters, to a large connected cluster spanning most of the economy, causing a sudden increase in the effectiveness of innovation: an industrial revolution. The predicted sequence of typical innovators - from gifted amateurs, to lucky amateurs, to professionals - is consistent with empirical evidence. This paper is part of the International Trade and Investment Programme of the Geary Institute at UCD.

Keywords: Industrial revolution; Social networks; Innovation; Industrial revolution; Technological innovations; Social networks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-09
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) First version, 2005 (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from School of Economics, University College Dublin Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Nicolas Clifton ().

Page updated 2021-03-28
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200515