The Evolution of Technology

Session organisers:

Tom Br̦kel, University of Stavanger Рtom.brokel@uis.no


New Inventions are increasingly regarded as the outcome of recombinant knowledge production. From this perspective, novel technologies build on existing knowledge through both deliberate and inadvertent deviations to the existing stock of ideas and technical know-how. Spatial environments condition the interactions between innovators, guiding the search process in certain directions and away from others. Repeated search efforts result in series of trials, errors, minor breakthroughs, information exchanges, interactions, and local and non-local collaborations. Together, these culminate into substantive transformations to the stock of technical know-how and reshapes the spatial distribution of economic activity.

While the evolutionary perspective of technological change is not new, improvements in methods, theory and available data have made it possible to investigate its dynamics with a new degree of clarity. These advancements allow scholars to revisit important questions concerning invention and its spatial dimensions. For this special session, we invite submissions that explore the microprocesses of innovation, the geography of innovation systems, and the direction and pace of technological change. We particularly welcome submissions that build on evolutionary models of myopic search, recombinant assembly, and fitness landscapes. Finally, submissions that utilize high-dimensional data are most welcome.


  • Bocconi University


  • Intesa Sanpaolo
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