Markets, Sciences, and the Dynamics of Technological Change

Loet Leydesdorff

Format:          seminars, student presentations
Assessment:    on the basis of  take-home exams and/or term paper
Credit:            7 points UvA (= 10 ECTS credits), level 2/3
Time:               second trimester Mondays 1 pm - 3 pm and Thursdays 11 am - 1 pm

(twice a week); first meeting: Monday, January 6, 2002

Place:             on Mondays: Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, room G. 003

on Thursdays: Plantage Muidergracht 24, rooms P 014 and P 018

on Monday, February 10, 11 am - 1 pm (NB!):

Oost-Indisch Huis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, room D 302 (computer practicum)

Registration:   Studieweb, OWI-PSCW, OWI-Informatiewetenschappen or ISHSS office

Please, sign also in for this course at using your student number and password.

The UvA-helpdesk for Blackboard can be found at 020-525 2527.

Literature:      A copy of the literature will be made available for photocopying

(see the weekly program below)

ISIS-code:       SW301067

THEME of the course:

The development of academic research capacities carries within itself the seeds of future economic and social development in the form of human capital, tacit knowledge, and intellectual property. Channeling knowledge flows into new sources of technological innovation has become an academic task, changing the structure and function of the university. Realizing the benefits of this potential resource occurs through organizational innovations such as technology transfer offices, incubator facilities, and research centers with industrial participation. The change in emphasis from a sole concentration on the production and dissemination of knowledge to technology transfer and firm formation places the university in a new alignment with the productive sector.

The new social contract between the university and the larger society is being negotiated in much more specific terms than the old one. The former contract was based on a linear model of innovation, presuming only long-term contributions of academic knowledge to the economy. Now both long- and short-term contributions are seen to be possible, based on examples of firm-formation and research contracts in fields such as biotechnology and computer science. A spiral model of innovation is required to capture multiple reciprocal linkages at different stages of the capitalization of knowledge.

What dynamics are involved? How are industrial and R&D policies affected? Should government strategies focus on channels of information in the hope of creating systematically effective and dynamic interdependencies without becoming directly involved in specific technologies or projects? Alternatively, should government policies focus on encouraging and subsidizing strategic alliances among companies and universities to overcome blockages or ‘reverse salients’ in particular technologies with significance for future product development?

These questions require an analysis of technological developments and such analyses are offered in economic theories of innovation, sociology of organizations, and science and technology studies. How do we integrate the results of the different perspectives? The goal of this course is to give an analytical introduction to the various theoretical approaches to technology, by studying and discussing original articles from the various traditions, and to analyze their consequences for the design of empirical research. Studies which conceptualize technological development in terms of “technological trajectories”, “networks,” and “systems” are compared. We also address the question of how complex systems can channel and retain information. For that purpose, models of technological change will be discussed, and students will be given the opportunity to simulate some models on the computer. Consequences of these various approaches for the possibilities of technology policy and technology assessment can be discussed.

Week 1 Questioning technology

Monday, Jan. 6
- Introduction

Thursday, Jan. 9
- Noble, David F., The wedding of science to the useful arts, in: America by Design. Science, Technology and the Rise of Corporate Imperialism (New York: Knopf, 1977), pp. 3-19.

- Gibbons, Michael, et al., Evolution of Knowledge Production, Chapter 1 of The New Production of Knowledge (London, etc.: Sage, 1994), pp. 17-45.

- Sahal, Devendra, Alternative conceptions of technology, Research Policy 10 (1981) 2-24.

Week 2: Theoretical perspectives: trajectory approaches

Monday, Jan. 13
- Rosenberg, Nathan, The direction of technological change: inducement mechanisms and focusing devices. Pp. 108-25 in: Perspectives on Technology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976).

- Dosi, Giovanni, Technological paradigms and technological trajectories, Research Policy 11 (1982) 147-162.

Thursday, Jan. 16
- Sahal, Devendra, Technological guideposts and innovation avenues, Research Policy 14 (1985) 61-82.

- Nelson, Richard R.,
Economic Growth via the Coevolution of Technology and Institutions, pp. 21-32 in: Loet Leydesdorff and Peter van den Besselaar (eds.), Evolutionary Economics and Chaos Theory. New Directions in Technology Studies, (London: Pinter, 1994).



Week 3: Theoretical perspectives: Actor/network approaches

Monday, Jan. 20
- Callon, Michel, The sociology of an actor network: the case of the electric vehicle. Pp. 19-34 in: Michel Callon, John Law, Arie Rip (eds.), Mapping the dynamics of science and technology (London: MacMilllan, 1986).


- Pinch, Trevor J. &  Wiebe E. Bijker, The social construction of facts and artifacts: or How the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit from each other. Pp. 17-50 in: W. Bijker, T.P. Hughes, T. Pinch (eds.), The social construction of technological systems (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987).

Thursday, Jan. 23
- Hughes, Thomas P., The evolution of large technological systems. Pp. 51-82 in: Wiebe Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, Trevor Pinch (eds), The social construction of technological systems (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987).


- Van Lente, Harro & Arie Rip, Expectations of Technological Developments: An Example of Prospective Structures to be Filled in by Agency, pp. 203-229 in: Cornelis Disco & Barend van der Meulen (Eds.), Getting New Technologies Together: Studies in Making Sociotechnical Order. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1998.



Week 4: Economic determinants of technological development

Monday, Jan. 27
- Freeman, Chris and Perez, Carlota, Structural crises of adjustment, business cycles and investment behaviour.
Pp. 38-66 in: Giovanni Dosi et al. (eds.), Technical Change and Economic Theory (London: Pinter, 1988).


- Schmookler, Joseph, Economic sources of inventive activity, Journal of Economic History 22 (1962) 1-20.

Thursday, Jan. 30
- Schumpeter, Joseph, The Process of Creative Destruction, in: Socialism, Capitalism and Democracy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1943), pp. 81-86.

- Allen, Peter M., Evolutionary Complex Systems: Models of Technology Change, Pp. 1-18 in: Loet Leydesdorff and Peter van den Besselaar (eds.), Evolutionary Economics and Chaos Theory. New Directions in Technology Studies (London: Pinter, 1994).

Week 5: First take-home exam

Monday, Feb. 3 opportunity for discussion about questions
Monday, Feb. 10 handing-in of exams

Week 5 / 6: Models of technological developments

Thursday, Feb. 6
- David, Paul A., Clio and the Economics of QWERTY, American Economic Review 75 (1985) 332-7.

- Loet Leydesdorff & Peter van den Besselaar, Competing Technologies: Lock-ins and Lock-outs, Proceedings of the American Institute of Physics, Vol. 437, pp. 309-323. (Woodbury, NY.: American Institute of Physics, 1998).

Monday, Feb. 10: Computer practicum: simulation models of technological change.

handing-in of exams

Please, begin reading the text by Freeman & Soete during the following weeks. Otherwise the schedule may lead to an overload of reading in the week of the second take-home tentamen.

Week 6: Techno-Sciences: Integration and Differentiation

Thursday, Feb. 13
- Bradshaw, George, & Marsha Lienert, The Invention of the Airplane, Proc. of the Thirteenth Ann. Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, August 7-10 (1991), pp. 605-10.

- Dits, Henk, & Guus Berkhout, Towards a Policy Framework for the Use of Knowledge in Innovation Systems, Journal of Technology Transfer 14 (1999), pp. 211-221.


Monday, Feb. 17
- Rosenberg, Nathan, Why do firms do basic research (with their own money)? Research Policy 19 (1990), pp. 165-174.

- Etzkowitz, Henry, & Loet Leydesdorff, The Dynamics of Innovation: From National Systems and “Mode 2” to a Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations, Research Policy 29(2) (2000) 109-123.

Week 7: National systems of innovation

Thursday, Feb. 20
- Lundvall, Bengt-Åke, Innovation as an interactive process: from user-producer interaction to the national system of innovation.
Pp. 349-69 in: Giovanni Dosi et al. (eds.) Technical Change and Economic Theory (London: Pinter, 1988).

-Yamauchi, Ichizo, Long Range Strategic Planning in Japanese R&D, in: C. Freeman (ed.), Design, Innovation and Long Cycles in Economic Development (London: Pinter, 1986).

Monday, Feb. 24
- Cooke, Philip, Introduction. The origins of the concept, pp. 2-25 in: H.-J.  Braczyk, P. Cooke, and  M. Heidenreich (Eds.) Regional Innovation Systems, (University College London Press, London/ Bristol PA, 1998).

- Radosevic, Slavo, Summary of the Project: “Restructuring and Reintegration of Science and Technology Systems in Economies in Transition” (Sussex: SPRU, 1999).

Week 8: Specification with regard to sectors and industrial structure

Thursday, Feb. 27

- Barras, Richard, Interactive innovation in financial and business services: The vanguard of the service revolution, Research Policy, 19 (1990) 215-237.

- McKelvey, Maureen D. Emerging Environments in Biotechnology. Pp. 60-70 in: Henry Etzkowitz & Loet Leydesdorff (Eds.), Universities and the Global Knowledge Economy: A Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations. (London: Cassell Academic, 1997).


Monday, March 3

Leydesdorff, Loet, & Élaine Gauthier, The Evaluation of Policy Priority Areas by means of Scientometric Methods, Research Policy 25 (1996), 431-450.


·        In terms of science policy, how are Canada and the Netherlands similar? How are they different?

·        What is the main finding of this research paper?

·        How do the authors explain the differences in effectiveness of government technology policy in the two countries?


- Dolfsma, Wilfred, The Process of New Service Development—Issues of Formalization and Appropriability, Chapter 3 in: J.P.J. de Jong, A. Bruins, W. Dolfsma and J. Meijaard (2002). Innovation in Service Industries (Zoetermeer: EIM, forthcoming).



Week 9: Second take-home exam
(Thursday, March 6)

Week 10: Social contexts of technological innovations

Monday, March 10
- Hippel, E. von, The dominant role of users in the scientific instrument innovation process, Research Policy 5 (1976), 212-239

- Sörensen, Knut, Towards a Feminized Technology? Gendered Values in the Construction of Technology, Social Studies of Science 22 (1992) 5-31.


Thursday, March 13
- Robin Cowan and Dominique Foray, “The Economics of Codification and the Diffusion of Knowledge,” Industrial and Corporate Change 6 (1997) 595-622.

- Tschang, F. Ted, The Indian Software Industry: The Role of Government, Industry and the Universities in Fostering Skills and Organizations, International Workshop on Science, Technology and Society: Lessons and Challenges. National University of Singapore, April 19-20, 2002.



Week 11: Politics, institutions, and innovations

Monday, March 17
- Van den Belt, Henk and Arie Rip, The Nelson-Winter-Dosi model and synthetic dye chemistry. Pp. 135-158 in: Wiebe Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, Trevor Pinch (eds.), The social construction of technological systems (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987).

- René Kemp, Johan Schot, & Remco Hoogma, Regime Shifts to Sustainability Through Processes of Niche Formation: The Approach of Strategic Niche Management, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 10 (1998) 175-195.

Thursday, March 20
- Peter Van den Besselaar, Democracy and Technological Change: Limits to Steering, in: R. Chatfield, S. Kuhn, M. Muller (Eds.), PDC 98 Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference. Seattle, WA, USA, November 1998.

- Beck, Ulrich
, From Industrial Society to the Risk Society: Questions of Survival, Social Structure and Ecological Enlightenment, Theory, Culture & Society 9 (1992) 97-123.

Third (final) exam questions

Please, hand in the answers to the final (take-home) exams on Monday, April 7, before 4 pm,
East Indian House (Kloveniersburgwal 48), my mailbox at Communication Studies (on the first floor).

Further (obligatory) reading:

* Chris Freeman and Luc Soete, The Economics of Industrial Innovation (London: Pinter, 1997), pp. 227-365. (These chapters discuss the micro- and the macro-economics of technological innovation. The remainder of the book is optional reading material.)