Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

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

Philippe Rouchy ()
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Philippe Rouchy: CSIR, Blekinge Inst of Technology, Postal: CITR (Center for Innovation and Technology Research), Department of Industrial Economics, Blekinge Inst of Technology, 371 79 Karlskrona, Sweden

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

JEL-codes: B25; L63; N12; O14

39 pages, June 23, 2014

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