Schumpeterian Profits and the Alchemist Fallacy
William D. Nordhaus
Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
April 2, 2005
Yale Economic Applications and Policy Discussion Paper No. 6
The present study examines the importance of Schumpeterian profits in the United States economy. Schumpeterian profits are defined as those profits that arise when firms are able to appropriate the returns from innovative activity. The paper derives the underlying equations for Schumpeterian profits. It then estimates the value of these profits for the non-farm business economy and for major industries. It concludes that only a miniscule fraction of the social returns from technological advances over the 1948-2001 period was captured by producers, indicating that most of the benefits of technological change are passed on to consumers rather than captured by producers. These results indicate that the bubble of new-economy stocks in the 1990s resulted from the alchemist fallacy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Schumpeter, profits, innovation
JEL Classification: O30, O31, O4
Date posted: October 5, 2005
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