• Jeffry Frieden


August 18, 2022, Paper: "Why do some societies embrace innovative technologies, policies, and ideas, while others are slow to adopt, and some even resist, them? Incumbent producers are most likely to be affected by certain kinds of innovations; they also wield a disproportionate influence in the design of institutions and policies that encourage or limit their adoption. We show formally that the elite has four cardinal policy options: to appropriate the innovation for itself; to encourage its adoption; to tax, regulate, or limit the innovation; or to block it. We show that six features of an innovation determine how it is received: (i) whether it is easy to replicate; (ii) whether it complements or competes with the elite's sources of income; (iii) whether its impact is broad or narrow; (iv) whether it is location-dependent, and (v) concealable; (vi) whether it requires large fixed costs. While other works have occasionally considered one of these factors, we show where each feature comes from, and we assess them systematically and together. We provide illustrative evidence of the relevance and generality of the model to understand the fate of a variety of innovations."

Non-HKS Harvard Faculty Author Website - Jeffry Frieden