1989 volume 7(2) pages 121 – 152

Cite as:
Thompson C, 1989, "High-technology theories and public policy" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 7(2) 121 – 152

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High-technology theories and public policy

C Thompson

Received 26 July 1988; in revised form 29 September 1988

Abstract. In this paper, six emerging strands of high-technology theory are reviewed, and are compared with each other for their utility and relevance to public policy. Although each has different particular strengths and weaknesses, their general determinism and reliance on market environments are found to be at odds with a conception of high technology as essentially an uncertain, premarket, or extramarket, phenomenon in which institutions, individuals, and place have key roles. The conclusion is that a more appropriate framework, such as a high-tech version of 'adjustment theory', would emphasize instead a central role for state activity in managing uncertainty, the importance of decisions by limited key individuals, and the historicogeographical characteristics of local settings.

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