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Population, Technological Progress and the Evolution of Innovative Potential

University of Western Australia Business School Discussion Paper 13.21

57 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2013 Last revised: 7 Oct 2013

Jason Collins

University of Western Australia - UWA Business School

Boris Baer

University of Western Australia - Plant Energy Biology

Ernst Juerg Weber

University of Western Australia - UWA Business School

Date Written: May 22, 2013

Abstract

We present an evolutionary theory of long-term economic growth in which technological progress and population growth are driven by the population size and the innovative potential of the people in the population. We expand on current theory proposing that population growth is proportional to population size, due to greater production of ideas, and submit that technological progress and population growth are also driven by the accelerating evolution of people with a higher innovative potential. As a larger population implies a larger number of mutations, population growth will increase the rate at which innovation-enhancing traits may emerge. Heritable traits that increase idea development or productivity increase the fitness of the bearer, increase in frequency in the population, and drive technological progress. This dual-driver model of economic growth has a sharper acceleration in population growth and greater robustness to technological shocks than a model without human evolution. We also show that as the population size increases, increases in population size become a relatively more important driver of the acceleration of technological progress than further increases in innovative potential.

Keywords: technological progress, human evolution, population growth, innovation

Suggested Citation

Collins, Jason and Baer, Boris and Weber, Ernst Juerg, Population, Technological Progress and the Evolution of Innovative Potential (May 22, 2013). University of Western Australia Business School Discussion Paper 13.21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2284456 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2284456

Jason Collins (Contact Author)

University of Western Australia - UWA Business School ( email )

Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Boris Baer

University of Western Australia - Plant Energy Biology ( email )

Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Ernst Juerg Weber

University of Western Australia - UWA Business School ( email )

Crawley, WA 6009
Australia

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