Economics of Technical Change

 

Economics of Technical Change (Madlener, V2/Ü2, SS, economics competency, in English)

The course on economics of technical change targets technical development as the core of economic growth. In the age of computers and the Internet, the concept of technical change has reached a new dimension. This course explains how established economic theories and methods can be applied to analyze the information age, and to find parallels to earlier stages of development. To this end, an overview of recent research topics and developments in research is provided. Specific attention is paid to the influence of information and communication technologies (ICT) for innovation and productivity developments, which particularly include network effects. Further topics are knowledge as a public good, path dependency and lock-in effects, standardization, competition, intellectual property, patent statistics, general purpose technologies, software licensing concepts and policy aspects

Syllabus

Economics of Technical Change addresses the core of economic growth, viz. the role of technological and related organizational innovation and its economic impacts. This subdiscipline in economics, which focuses on both research & development (R&D) and market diffusion, has found a completely new dimension in the era of information and communication technologies (ICT). In this course, we shed light on how traditional theories and methods can help to analyze phenomena of technical change and related issues (e.g. standards, patents) and where we can find parallels to earlier developments. An overview of the main interests and more recent developments in this field of research will be given. A special focus is put on the impact of ICT for innovation and productivity development, which incorporates network effects in particular. Further topics encompass knowledge as a public good, path dependence and lock-in effects, standardization, competition, intellectual property and patent statistics, general purpose technologies, software licensing, as well as policy and R&D funding aspects. Among others, we will also use game-theoretic approaches.

Objectives

1) Students shall get familiar with basic theories, topics and approaches relevant for the economics of technical change.
2) Students shall learn to recognize differences between conventional and network industries.
3) Students shall be able to apply game-theoretic methods to topics related to technical change.
4) Students shall learn to systematically screen and use literature on the economics of technical change for their own purposes.
5) Students shall learn how to apply the knowledge obtained on the economics of technical change to real-world problems.

Prerequisites

Basic knowledge in Economics

Examination

Successful examination (100%, graded, 60 min.) or, if no. of participants is <12, alternatively an oral examination in groups of 3-4; (100%, graded, 60min.)