Not available in 2016/17
DV446      Half Unit
Technical Change, Paradigm Shifts and Global Development

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Carlota Perez


This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management and MSc in Development Studies. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This is an interdisciplinary course aimed at understanding how technical change modifies the windows of opportunity for growth and development, as well as how technology and institutions influence each other. The course will be structured in three parts. Part One: Theory of Technical Change and Paradigm Shifts will provide a set of tools for analysing technology from a social science perspective, connecting neo-Schumpeterian theories of technology and innovation with theories of development. Part Two: Technical Change and Development Opportunities will use that framework to explain why development opportunities are a moving target and why what may have been impossible in a particular period can become possible in another, thus requiring an evolutionary perspective of development strategies. Part Three: Technology, Paradigm Shifts, Social Institutions and Development Policies will examine the way in which social forces, movements and policies shape and are shaped by technology and the social innovation potential it provides.


15 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Note: part of the teaching and the seminar guidance will be performed by guest professors, Mary Kaldor and Robin Murray

Formative coursework

Reading three or four papers for each lecture and submitting comments as requested in each case. Participating in the exercises and debates proposed in the seminars. Searching for examples in the media of the issues being discussed. Participating in the discussion of their colleagues’ exam presentations. Writing an essay during the Lent Term in order to receive comments with a view to improving the final essays. Giving presentations on chosen topics in the seminar sessions and participating in the discussion of colleagues' presentations. While the assessed element of the course is minimal compared to many at LSE, this is a intensive and immersive class, and a high level of engagement and participation is expected of students who take a place.

Indicative reading

Part One

Dosi, Giovanni, Chris Freeman, Richard Nelson, Gerald Silverberg and Luc Soete (eds) (1988), (chosen chapters) Technical Change and Economic Theory, London and New York: Pinter and Columbia University Press.

Geels, F.W., 2012, 'A socio-technical analysis of low-carbon transitions: Introducing the multi-level perspective into transport studies', Journal of Transport Geography, 24, 471-482.

Lundvall, B.-Å., Johnson, B., Andersen, E.S., and B. Dalum (2002), 'National systems of production, innovation and competence building', Research Policy, 31, 213-231.

Perez C.( 2010) "Technological revolutions and techno-economic paradigms", Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 34, No.1, pp. 185-202.

Perez, C. (2000) "The lessons we have learned about technology and development", presentation at the High-Level Round Table, UNCTAD X, Bangkok, February 12,

Zuboff. S (2010) “Creating Value in the Age of Distributed Capitalism” McKinsey Quarterly, September 


Part Two

Ernst, D., (2002). 'Global production networks and the changing geography of innovation systems: implications for developing countries', Economics of Innovation and New Technologies, 11 (6), 497-523.

Perez, C. (2010) "Technological dynamism and social inclusion in Latin America: a resource-based production development strategy" in CEPAL Review No. 100, pp. 121-141.

Freeman, C.  (1992) ‘A Green Techno-Economic Paradigm for the World Economy’, Ch. 10 pp. 190-211 in The Economics of Hope, London: Pinter

Mathews, J. (2011) "Naturalizing capitalism: The next Great Transformation". Futures, No. 43 pp. 868-879

Perez, C. (2013) "Unleashing a golden age after the financial collapse: Drawing lessons from history", Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. Vol. 6, pp. 9-23.

Perez, C., and Soete, L. (1988) "Catching up in technology: entry barriers and windows of opportunity, in Dosi et al. (eds) Chapter 21, pp. 458-479.

Part Three

Kaldor M (2011) ‘War and Economic Crisis’ in Craig Calhoun and Georgi Derluguian (eds), The Deepening Crisis: Governance Challenges after Neoliberalism, SSRC and  New York University Press

Murray, R., Caulier-Grice,J. and Mulgan, G. (2010) The Open Book of Social Innovation, Nesta.

Murray, R. (2012) “Global Civil Society and the Rise of the Civil Economy” in Helmut Anheier, Marlies Glasius, and Mary Kaldor (eds) Global Civil Society 2012, Palgrave MacMillan

Rodrik, D. (2004) “Industrial Policy for the Twenty-first Century”, CEPR Discussion Paper 4767, London: CEPR.

Smith, A., Fressoli,M and Thomas, H. “Grassroots innovation movements: challenges and contributions” Journal of Cleaner Production 63 (2014) pp 114-124.


Essay (50%, 2500 words) and presentation (50%) in the ST.

Teachers' comment

DV446 was launched two years ago to offer an alternative - and complementary - approach to development studies. Particularly geared to future policy makers, the course examines the intertwined relationship of technological innovation and economic development, employing both a historical perspective and the theories of those at the forefront of innovation studies. All seminars and lectures are taught by one professor (with two guest lectures towards the end of the course) and the class is limited to fifteen students. This results in a very intensive course with a high level of student engagement demanded. This is made very clear at the start of the term, and most of the students over the past two years have embraced this and have subsequently appreciated the level of seminar debate and teacher feedback.

We have noted that some of the students have found the lectures dense in content, and so have 'pruned' the material presented, with additional slides offered as supporting handouts. The reading list is extensive but is clearly demarked into essential and supplementary reading; however, it has become apparent that some students still find the choice of readings presented somewhat overwhelming in the first few weeks of the course, and will make efforts to offer more reading guidelines in those initial weeks. As other course convenors have observed, surveys are taken before the end of the course. DV446 does not have a final written exam, but is graded with an assessed essay and a group oral presentation, the latter of which is examined over the course of a two-day seminar in the summer term. We have observed the majority of our students really 'coming into their own' during the presentation process, and most have subsequently sent personal feedback to express appreciation for the unique nature of the course, despite finding it demanding.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2015/16: 15

Average class size 2015/16: 15

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information