Innovation waves and technological transitions: Sweden, 1909-2016

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There are important unresolved questions about long-term trends of in- novation activity and the nature of the interplay between innovation and economic development and transformation. This study explores the promise of a literature-based innovation output indicator, constructed for the Swedish engineering industry, 1909-2016. The findings suggest a long-run increasing trend in innovations per capita. Meanwhile, product innovations have also become more complex and it is suggested that crude innovation counts underestimate the long-run innovation performance. In order to analyse innovation and economic development across different frequencies, the study uses a wavelet decomposition approach. The results suggest that innovation activity has surged in periods of intense industry rationalization and struc- tural crisis (1930s, 1970s and 2010s) and that such pulses were intimately connected to the second and third industrial revolutions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameLund Papers in Economic History. General Issues
PublisherDepartment of Economic History, Lund University

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History


  • Innovation
  • Wavelet analysis
  • Technological systems
  • N13
  • O31
  • O14


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