chapter  3
18 Pages

The economics of research

The contribution of critical realism
WithDavid Tyfield

This chapter illustrates the difference critical realism makes, regarding formulation of a critical, explanatory political economy of research and innovation through engagement with the evolutionary economics of innovation. The school of thought that is variously called innovation studies or the evolutionary economics of innovation (EEI) has contributed most to current understanding of the processes of technological change and innovation. The neo-Gramscian perspective places politics as constitutive of technological and economic change in the form of spatio-temporal fixes and modes of regularisation and societalisation that constitute the settlement of a political economic space. C. Perez also stresses the importance of politics in the setting of techno economic trajectories and the mutual shaping' of politics and technology. Economics of Techn(olog)ical Change (ETC) thus carefully avoids the neoclassical errors of reifying economic states as static equilibria, but it necessarily reifies the processes and trajectories it identifies.