Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Industrial Economics, Blekinge Institute of Technology Working Papers

No 2014/07:
Atanasoff’s invention input and early computing state of knowledge

Philippe Rouchy ()

Abstract: This article investigates the dynamic relationship between a single pursue of an invention and the general US supply of similar activities in early computing during the 1930-1946 period. The objective is to illustrate how an early scientific state of knowledge affects the efficiency with which an theoretical effort is transformed into an invention. In computing, a main challenge in the pre-industrial phase of invention concerns the lack of or scattered demand for such ground-breaking inventions. I present historiographical evidences of the early stage of US computing providing an improved understanding of the dynamics of the supply of invention. It involves solving the alignment between a single inventor’s incentives to research with the suppliers of technology. This step conditions the constitution of a stock of technical knowledge, and its serendipitous but purposeful organisation.

Keywords: invention input; computing; technological change; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: B25; L63; N12; O14; (follow links to similar papers)

39 pages, June 23, 2014

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