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The Institutions of the MarketOrganizations, Social Systems, and Governance$
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Alexander Ebner and Nikolaus Beck

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231423.001.0001

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Co‐evolution of Technologies and Institutions in Market Economies *

Co‐evolution of Technologies and Institutions in Market Economies *

(p.253) 11 Co‐evolution of Technologies and Institutions in Market Economies*
The Institutions of the Market

Richard R. Nelson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that economists are right in seeing ‘the right institutions’ as the key to economic productivity and progressiveness. But for the argument to be delved deeper, it needs to be recognized that there is a very real challenge; the magnitude of the challenge is only beginning to be understood. The conglomerate of things different economists have called institutions largely reflects the fact that many different kinds of structures and forces mould the way individuals and organizations interact to get things done — so-called ‘social technologies’. Economic growth involves the co-evolution of technologies and the institutions needed for their effective operation and advancement. Some institutions provide the broad background conditions under which technologies can proceed, and others come into existence and develop to support the important new technologies that are driving growth. The chapter reviews the processes of institutional change and argues that institutional change, and its influence on economic activity, is much more difficult to direct and control than technological change, and hence prevailing institutions are often drags on economic productivity and progressiveness. The evolution of technology and institutions in pharmaceutical biotech is considered.

Keywords:   economic change, institutional change, social technologies, economic growth, economic productivity, progressiveness

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