Thrainn Eggertsson
U. of Iceland & New York U.



(Friday, 23rd May 2008)

Title : Social Technologies: Supply and Demand

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The term “social technology” is a “know-how” knowledge concept: How rule-makers arrange institutions to create new social mechanisms or social systems. In a world of scarce resources and incomplete knowledge the capacity to create new social arrangements draws both on a knowledge base and a power base.  Institutional change typically involves several categories of actors, who represent the supply and demand side with varying knowledge and power resources, and interests. Moreover, social technologies and physical technologies interact to create social environments supportive of new technologies. We use three cases to explore these issues: 1) the origins of property rights in US airport slots; 2) the origins of property rights in individual transferable fishing quotas in the Iceland fisheries; and 3) adjustments in property rights and social mechanisms in response to the biotechnology revolution.

Bibliographical references :

Richard R. Nelson, "What enables rapid economic progress: What are the needed institutions?", Research Policy 37 (2008) 1–11.

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Chapter 12 :The subtle art of major institutional reform in Thráinn Eggertsson, IMPERFECT INSTITUTIONS: POSSIBILITIES AND LIMITS OF REFORM, University of Michigan Press (2005)

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William H. Riker and Itai Sened, A Political Theory of the Origin of Property Rights: Airport Slots, American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 951-969

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