When the State reads into the crystal ball technology

Research. The plan hydrogen presented on June 1st by the minister of the ecological transition, and solidarity states that ” hydrogen is a “revolution potential” for our energy model, ” and aims to ” make our country a world leader in this technology.” Three months earlier, the member Cédric Villani presented a very complete designed to “prevent France, misses the train of the artificial intelligence” and “emergence of the French champions’ in this field (” to Give a sense to the artificial intelligence “).

The government takes a tradition of support from the State to certain industries, dating back to Colbert, boasts some success, Saint-Gobain Airbus. But can we assess the real impact of these activities that seem so crucial at a given moment a government considers it necessary to help their development ?

American economists Paul David and Robert J. Gordon showed in the 1990s that some industries are leading the global growth with externalities on all other sectors. Paul David has in particular claimed that the electricity had, among these technologies ” multi-purpose “, revolutionized between 1900 and 1950 the organization of production in all sectors, as well as new activities (electrometallurgy, electrochemistry, household appliances, electrical machinery professional).

Question of technical progress

The more recent work of Gerben Bakker, Nicholas Crafts, and Pieter Woltjer, however, have reduced these conclusions (” The Sources of Growth in a Technologically Progressive Economy : The United States, 1899-1941 “, Economic History Working Papers, n° 269, The London School of Economics and Political Science, 2017).

They use a proven method, which is the basis of all accounting…

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