The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Technical Change

  • S. Metcalfe
Reference work entry


Successive transformations of economic society from agricultural to industrial form and beyond to the service economy have consolidated a process of economic change with its own inner logic of tremendous power, a logic which harnessed continual technical and organizational innovation to the pursuit of profit. The intertwining of emergent knowledge and economic adaptation within the instituted frame of modern capitalism is at the core of economic self-transformation. This article treats this topic in three parts: the relation between new knowledge and economic transformation; some consequences of technical change; and the residual productivity debate.


Additivity Adjustment costs Capital intensity Capitalism Capital–labour substitution Consumption growth frontier Diffusion of technology Division of labour Economic growth Efficient allocation Entrepreneurship Equilibrium Industrial Revolution Innovation Input–Output analysis Internet Invention Knowledge Labour productivity Learning Leisure Market institutions Maturity Population growth Production functions Productivity growth Research and development Residual productivity Roundabout methods of production Specialization Standards of living Structural change Technical change Thrift Total factor productivity Trigger effects Wage–Profit frontier 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Metcalfe
    • 1
  1. 1.