The Relationship between Technical Change and Economic Performance in Mechanical Engineering: Some Evidence

  • Roy Rothwell


For a government committed to a sectoral strategy, one of the most important questions it must ask itself when formulating practical policies for the different sectors is: ‘How important a factor is technical change in determining the economic performance of each sector?’ Further, not only is it essentiàl to determine the amount of technical change that is necessary for commercial success, but it is important also to determine the nature of that change, i.e. small-step technical change (incremental innovation) or large-step technical change (radical innovation); and how much of each type of change is necessary to ensure both current and future competitiveness? This paper attempts to answer these questions for several areas of mechanical engineering (in particular textile machinery), and presents empirical evidence taken from a number of recent, and on-going, studies undertaken by the Science Policy Research Unit. The implications of these results for Government policy are then discussed.


Technical Change Radical Innovation Patent Activity Market Leader Incremental Innovation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Rothwell

There are no affiliations available

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