Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2000


The Economics of Technological Change

Main discipline: Economics, Technology and Innovation Studies
Lecturer: Professor Bart Verspagen,
MERIT, University of Maastricht, the Netherlands


Plan of lectures

1. Technology as a production factor
Aim: to introduce the special features of technological knowledge as a production factor and economic good. Which problems does this cause for economic analysis?

Literature:


2. Research and development
Aim: to explore the nature of the research and development process, and to provide a historical background to this process.

Literature:


3. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection
Aim: to provide a discussion of the economic aspects of the patent system, and to introduce theory on optimal patent design (patent length, patent breadth).

Literature:


4. Technology, market structure and diffusion
Aim: to introduce the basic microeconomic theory of innovation. This lecture will explore the issue of (endogenous) market structure, and the diffusion of technologies.

Literature:


5. The information economy: problems for theory?
Aim: to explore the question whether special characteristics (such as network externalities) of information and communications technologies (ICT) pose special problems for economic theory. Applications to the issue of market structure and innovation (the Microsoft case).

Literature:


6. Technology and (un)employment
Aim: to explore what the impact of various forms on (un)employment is. Special emphasis is on the expectations regarding the impact of ICT.

Literature:


7. Early innovation based theories of growth
Aim: to explore the impact of technology on economic growth. This lecture will survey some early theories and applications on this subject.


8. Endogenous growth theory
Aim: to extend the issue of growth and technology to the so-called endogenous growth theory that emerged in the late 1980s.

Literature:


9. Creative destruction and evolutionary economics
Aim: to investigate an alternative perspective on long-run growth and technology that considers fluctuations as a major aspect of growth.


10. Technology and International trade
Aim: to explore the impact of technology on international trade.

Literature:


The lecturer
Professor Bart Verspagen is an economist specialized in the economics of technological change. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Limburg in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 1984 - 1988. After that, he obtained a PhD degree from the same university in 1992. During the five years after that, he held a scholarship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

During these years, his workplace was the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT). In 1998, he moved partly to the Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies (ECIS) at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE). Now, he is at ECIS for 3 days per week, and at MERIT for the other two days, both as research professor of the economics of technological change.