EC203 explores the patterns and economic implications of technological change in the modern world, beginning with a brief outline of the first Industrial Revolution in Britain, but focusing on the ‘second industrial revolution’ from the mid-19th century and subsequent developments which culminated in the technological advances that made pivotal contributions to economic growth throughout the 20th century, and beyond. Following a review of aggregate growth accounting estimates of trends in technological change (Total Factor Productivity), the module continues with case studies of key sectors contributing to technical progress, notably electricity and organic chemicals. Their further developments, and applications, are pursued alongside innovations in a widening range of industries throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries. Particular attention is devoted to developments in Information and Communications Technology and biomedical advances, together with implications for labour and capital markets, often now associated with a ‘third industrial revolution’. The module concludes with reflections on the prospects for, and challenges likely to confront, technological progress towards the mid-21st century.
- Module Supervisor: Roy Bailey