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Technological Change and the Environment by Arnulf Grübler

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Chapter 3

Induced Technical Innovation andMedical History: An EvolutionaryApproach

Joel Mokyr

3.1   Introduction

The motivation for this project is derived from my amazement that changes in human knowledge have been so little analyzed in the economic history literature. For most relevant problems, we tend to assume that knowledge is given and should be regarded, insofar as it is considered at all, a constraint on the maximization problem to be solved. In that approach, knowledge is much like income: for a one-period optimization problem, it is quite warranted to consider income as given and a binding constraint, but nobody would recommend the same for a study of changes in long-term economic growth. Whereas studies of changes in income are now ...

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