Working Paper


Morgan Kelly



innovation o40 technological innovations international trade technology industrial revolution social networks social process

The invention of invention (2005)

Abstract This paper models an industrial revolution as a qualitative transition from a world where innovation is infrequent and haphazard to one where it is continuousand systematic. Pre-industrial innovation is treated as a social process where an individual's effectiveness as an innovator depends on the skills of other individuals in his social network. As technology improves, individuals invest more time in learning through social contact. This gradual increase in linkage formation leads to a sudden change in the size of knowledgenetworks from small, isolated clusters, to a large connected cluster spanning most of the economy, causing a sudden increase in the effectiveness of innovation: an industrial revolution. The predicted sequence of typical innovators - from gifted amateurs, to lucky amateurs, to professionals - is consistent with empirical evidence.This paper is part of the International Trade and Investment Programme of the Geary Institute at UCD.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Economics Working Papers & Policy Papers
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> School of Economics
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> College of Social Sciences and Law

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Morgan Kelly

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Morgan Kelly
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 37