Technical Change and Techno-Economic Paradigms

Prof. Carlota Perez

While there is no linear determinism in economic development, large-scale patterns have been identified in economic, industrial and technological dynamics. As suggested by Schumpeter, these patterns are associated with the occurrence of successive technological revolutions. This course provides a set of tools for understanding and analyzing technical change and innovation, from the minor improvements that are constantly made to every product and service to the great surges of transformation that change the techno-economic paradigm for the whole economy. The course discusses the nature, sources and forms of evolution and diffusion of technical change at various levels, the changing windows of opportunity for companies and countries and the impact on socio-economic institutions of the different stages of diffusion of each of the five technological revolutions experienced from the “Industrial Revolution”. The object is to understand the current Information Technology Revolution, its impact and the possibilities it opens, within a wider historical framework. The course combines theory with analysis of case studies and involves several exercises that help connect the subject matter with current developments both in company strategies and in government policy for innovation and development.

Giovanni Dosi, Technical Paradigms and Technological Trajectories: A Suggested Interpretation of the Determinants of Technical Change, Research Policy, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1982, pp. 147–62.
Christopher Freeman, The Economics of Industrial Innovation, Penguin Books, 1974 [or 1997 3rd edition with L. Soete, London] (selected readings).
Carlota Perez, Carlota, Technological change and opportunities for development as a moving target, CEPAL Review No. 75, 2001, December, pp. 109-130 (also available in Spanish and French).
Carlota Perez , Finance and technical change: A long-term view, CERF Working Paper No. 14, 2004. Download from
Carlota Perez , Technological revolutions, paradigm shifts and socio-institutional change, in E.Reinert, ed. Globalization, Economic Development and Inequality, An Alternative Perspective, Elgar, 2004, pp. 217-242.
Joseph A. Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development, Oxford University Press, 1911:1961 (selected readings).

Credits: 4
Grade: Yes
Mandatory: Yes