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Innovation and Incentives

The Queen's University Centre for Economic History is hosting a workshop tomorrow entitled Innovation and Incentives in Business and Economic History - the workshop's programme is here

Some economists, such as Robert Gordon, believe that future innovation and invention is going to be incremental at best, leading to a slowing of economic growth (Gordon's paper is here). Gordon argues that before 1750, there was little innovation and consequently hardly any economic growth. The Industrial Revolution and later technological revolutions made society highly productive, with the result that there has been huge economic growth since 1750. However, where is the next technological revolution coming from? All of the productivity benefits of the ICT revolution have already occurred and subsequent ICT innovations have been about entertainment rather than changing labour productivity.

The QUCEH workshop hopes to shed light on the effects of innovation on the economy in the past and the incentives people had in the past to engage in innovation.  Looking at the history of innovation will help us understand why and how innovation occurs.


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