On the Uneven Evolution of Human Know-How

Nelson, Richard

Economists long have understood that the advance of technology, know-how being a more inclusive term, has been the central driving force behind the improvements in standards of living that have been achieved over the last two centuries. It has been less well recognized that the advance of know-how has been extremely uneven, dramatic in areas like communication and computation technologies and some areas of medicine, very limited in fields like housing construction and education. This essay is a preliminary investigation of the factors that might lie behind these differences. The search very quickly leads into exploration of why different fields of science have progressed so unevenly.


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Academic Units
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University
ISERP Working Papers, 01-05
Published Here
August 23, 2010


October 2001.