Chapter

General Purpose Technologies and Surges in Productivity: Historical Reflections on the Future of the ICT Revolution

Paul A. David and Gavin Wright

in The Economic Future in Historical Perspective

Published by British Academy

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263471
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734786 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263471.003.0005

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

General Purpose Technologies and Surges in Productivity: Historical Reflections on the Future of the ICT Revolution

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This chapter analyses the relationship between the diffusion of general purpose technologies (GPTs) and surges in the growth of productivity. It first explores the dynamics of GPT diffusion by considering the generic and differentiating aspects of the US experience with industrial electrification and in comparison with that of the UK and Japan. It then discusses the analogies and contrasts between the historical case of a socio-economic regime transition involving the electric dynamo and the modern experience of the information and communications technology (ICT).

Keywords: general purpose technologies; GPTs; productivity; industrial electrification information and communications technology; ICT

Chapter.  11542 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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