Although technological change is vital for economic growth, the
interaction of finance and technological innovation is rarely
studied. This pioneering volume examines the ways in which
innovation is funded in the United States. In case studies and
theoretical discussions, leading economists and economic historians
analyze how inventors and technologically creative entrepreneurs
have raised funds for their projects at different stages of U.S.
economic development, beginning with the post-Civil War period of
the Second Industrial Revolution. Their discussions point to
intriguing insights about how the nature of the technology may
influence its financing and, conversely, how the availability of
funds influences technological advances.These studies show that
over the long history of American technological advancement,
inventors and innovators have shown considerable flexibility in
finding ways to finance their work. They have moved to cities to
find groups of local investors; they have worked for large firms
that could tap the securities market for funds; they have looked to
the federal government for research and development funding; and
they have been financed by the venture capital industry. The
studies make it clear that methods of funding innovation--whether
it is in the auto industry or information technology--have
important implications for both the direction of technological
change and the competitive dynamism of the economy.
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