This course begins with an introduction to the economics of ideas and uses the economics of ideas to evaluate the origins of invention and discovery, innovation, and the diffusion of new technology. The course focuses on (a) the micro-foundations of the knowledge production function (including the role of creativity and the impact of Science), (b) the impact of institutions and strategic interaction on the commercialization of new technology, and (c) the diffusion and welfare impact of ideas and technology, including at the aggregate level. The course emphasizes how the unusual characteristics of ideas can result in social inefficiency, and how the microeconomic and institutional environment influences the gap between private and social welfare. The course includes a mixture (and explicit comparisons of) both theoretical and empirical research. The course forms a sequence with Economics of Innovation 449-1, but MECS 449-1 is not a pre-requisite to register for this course.
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