The Choice of Technique: Empirical Studies
The earlier parts of this book suggest the areas which require empirical illumination. Chapter 1 presented a general model of technological choice: each technique is associated with a vector of characteristics; the set of techniques available depends on the historical development of technology, and specifically the economic/social conditions of the economy for which the techniques were originally developed; each decision maker has certain objectives, a certain amount of knowledge about the technological possibilities, faces certain restraints, and controls a certain amount of resources. The actual choice made then depends on the interaction between decision makers and technological possibilities, given the various objectives and restraints. Ideally, empirical studies should try and illuminate this complex process — revealing for example how the historical development of the industry affects the technology available; whether and how one set of decision makers, e.g. multinational firms, make a different choice from another, e.g. local publicly owned firms; and why — e.g. because objectives differ, or because access to resources differ, or because markets differ. Chapter 4 presented a more specific empirical question: that is, the question of the existence and relative efficiency of an appropriate technology, and the sort of socio-economic changes that would be needed to get such a technology — if it exists — into use. This question is in a way a sub-question of the general model of technological choice in Chapter 1.
KeywordsCapacity Utilisation Local Firm Technological Choice Surplus Generation Technological Possibility
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