The Old Economics of Science and the Nonlinear Model of Innovation: The Case of Richard Nelson

History of Political Economy (2018), 50 (1): 119-154.

Posted: 3 Apr 2015 Last revised: 4 Jun 2018

See all articles by Matthieu Ballandonne

Matthieu Ballandonne

Ecole Superieure Des Sciences Commerciales D'Angers (ESSCA)

Date Written: June 2, 2015

Abstract

The linear model of innovation, which assumes a unidirectional and non simultaneous relationship between the two realms of science and technology, is still a debated framework. The aims of this article are to show, in contrast with the received view, that economists of science in the fifties and in the sixties did not develop or support the linear model; to examine the epistemological foundations of their representation of the links between science and technology; and to examine its consequences for the economics of patents. We first focus on Richard Nelson’s seminal articles on the economics of science. We show that Nelson actually developed an interactionist representation of the links between science and technology and noted that science can also develop with practical objectives. We then explain Nelson’s development of an interactionist model by his adoption of an evolutionary epistemology (represented by a defense of circular causal relationships and an emphasis on historical continuity) which stems from the influence of evolutionary theory on his research carried out at that time at the RAND Corporation and at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. We then examine the genealogy of Giovanni Dosi’s notion of “technological paradigm” and show its links with the contributions to the old economics of science, a criticism of the linear model of innovation, and an evolutionary epistemology. We finally study the links between an evolutionary epistemology, an interactionist representation of the relationships between science and technology, and the criticism of patents on science and technology.

Keywords: .Richard Nelson; Giovanni Dosi; economics of science; patents; linear model of innovation.

JEL Classification: B25; B52; O30.

Suggested Citation

Ballandonne, Matthieu, The Old Economics of Science and the Nonlinear Model of Innovation: The Case of Richard Nelson (June 2, 2015). History of Political Economy (2018), 50 (1): 119-154., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2589050 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2589050

Matthieu Ballandonne (Contact Author)

Ecole Superieure Des Sciences Commerciales D'Angers (ESSCA) ( email )

1 rue Joseph Lakanal
BP 40348
Angers Cedex, 49003
France

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
548
PlumX Metrics