ECON 377
Inspiration/Perspiration: The Economics of Innovation Fall 2019
Division II

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From the iron plow, to the steam engine, to modern biotechnology, innovation drives economic growth and raises living standards. Whether we are talking about great inventions or small tweaks, the tools of economics can help us understand how new ideas and technologies emerge, spread, and become obsolete. In this course, we will examine the creation of new knowledge, the translation of ideas and scientific advances into practical applications, and the adoption of new technologies by producers and consumers. We will study the incentives that potential innovators face, how these are affected by patents and other forms of intellectual property rights, how entrepreneurs finance and market their innovations and how different market structures can influence the resulting trajectory of innovation and adoption. We will also discuss how government policies can foster the financing and development of innovation. Throughout the course, we will explore historical and contemporary case studies of the creation, exploitation, and consequences of innovation.
The Class: Type: lecture
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1157
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: reading responses and short writing assignments; empirical exercises; constructive contributions to class discussions; a group project; and an 8- 10-page research paper
Prerequisites: ECON 251 and (ECON 255 or POEC 253)
Enrollment Preferences: junior and senior Economics majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses

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