Historical Social Research

27.1 - Historical Innovation Research

HSR Vol. 27 (2002) No. 1: Historical Innovation Research

The aim of the project which inspired this HSR Focus was the evaluation of the possibilities of reconstructing and critically documenting specific quantitative indicators for the phenomena of innovation and of the economic development of Germany, other European countries, and the USA between 1870 and today. While the indicators of innovation are supposed to demonstrate and measure the scope, the intensity, and the structural interdependence of the process, the economic indicators are used to validate the indicators of innovation. With the help of the indicators it should be possible to theoretically follow the question about the relations between innovation and economic development on the basis of time series. In this, the dynamics of the innovation process receive a special focus. This HSR Focus contains three different themes: first, the development in the field of inventions in Germany is extensively treated by shedding light on the development in the area of patenting, as well as the collection of innovative action in the machinery industry of Germany; second, a short reconstruction and analysis of the changes in public perception of technological change in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s is presented; third, the technological developments in the area of Information and Telecommunication Technologies are analyzed in light of the economic development in the USA in the 1990s under the “New Economy.”