Economics of Technical Change

Key Info

Basic Information

Organizational Unit:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. soc. oec. Reinhard Madlener

Further Information



"Economics of technical change" addresses technological and organizational improvements at the core of economic growth. Following a micro- and macroeconomics approach, this course sheds light on basic concepts at the root of technical change and traditional economic theories. Thus, emphasis is placed on the dynamics behind investments in R&D, innovation adoption (mainly taking place at the firm level) and diffusion as well as organizational and institutional change. Examples and empirical evidence are provided in support of the theory. Among other topics, the course tackles industrial measures designed to enhance knowledge protection and transfer - such as standardization, intellectual property and patenting -, but also path dependence and lock-in effects, endogenous growth theories, and structural change. In this context, policy perspectives and implications are also addressed.

Content and textbooks

Unit | Topic/s covered | Textbook chapter/s

  1. Introduction; Basic definitions and concepts | [1] Ch. 1; [4] Ch.3
  2. Knowledge as a public good | [8] Ch. 4
  3. Intellectual property, patents, and open technologies | [1] Ch. 9
  4. Standardization & competition; Adoption of technology | [3] Ch. 3, 4, 14; [7] Ch.4
  5. Diffusion of technology | [1] Ch. 16; [8] Ch. 7
  6. Regional aspects of innovation and diffusion | [6] Ch. 61; [4] Ch.3
  7. Financing aspects of investments in R&D | [8] Ch. 8
  8. Path dependence and lock-in | [1] Ch. 3,5; [5] Ch. 1,4,10
  9. Innovation, structural change, GPTs, and economic growth | [1] Ch. 14; [2] Ch. 1
  10. Policy considerations | [8] Ch. 12
  11. Q&A

Group of participants

Enrolment to this course is mainly open to master's students from business administration, economics, as well as students with double-degree in economics, industrial engineering and related fields. In order to know whether you are allowed to take this course, please get in touch with your study advisor.


Basic knowledge of microeconomics.

Recommended Literature

  • Antonelli, C. et al. (Eds.) (2006). New Frontiers in the Economics of Innovation and New Technology. Essays in Honor of Paul A. David, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, Mass., USA.
  • Barro, R.J and Sala-i-Martin, X. (2004). Economic growth. The MIT Press, Second Edition, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Blind (2004). The Economics of standards: theory, evidence, policy. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK; and Northampton, Mass., USA
  • Dicken, P. (2007). Global shift. Mapping the changing contours of the world economy; 5th Edition
  • Garud, R. and Karnøe, P. (2001) Path dependence and creation. Psychology Press; 1st edition (Feb. 1 2001)
  • Handerson, J. V. and Thisse, J.F. (2004) Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Vol.4 : 2063-3073.
  • Shy, O. (2001). The Economics of Network Industries. Cambridge University Press.
  • Stoneman, P. (Ed.)(1995). Handbook of the Economics of Innovation and Technological Change, Blackwell, Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA