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Innovation and institutions from the bottom up: an introduction

  • DAVID A. HARPER (a1)
Abstract

This introduction canvasses broad themes relating to the nexus of innovation and institutions. It first examines the notion of a “new combination” – a core analytical concept in economic theories of innovation and explanations of emergent novelty through bottom-up processes. Following Schumpeter, different theorists have made different claims about the composition and structure of new combinations. Possible constituent elements include factors of production, capital goods, routines, information, ideas, technologies, and property rights. The article then looks synoptically at the institutional dimensions of innovation from alternative perspectives that focus upon different kinds of institutional rules and policy solutions to innovation problems. Neoclassical and evolutionary approaches tend to emphasize specific policy interventions in markets to channel behavior toward particular desired outcomes, whereas institutional and Austrian approaches tend to focus upon general institutional rules (e.g. property and contract) that frame markets and innovation processes. Finally, this article summarizes the papers in the special issue.

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Journal of Institutional Economics
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