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Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
We often look at the effect that technology has on our economy and the role in plays in income growth. We also commonly look at how increases in income can affect the level of utility that an individual can reach. So we can imagine that if technology increases income by x amount, then we could show how that would directly result in a utility increase of y. The problem is that this approach undervalues the additional benefits that technology produces in regards to utility and as such tells an incomplete story.
This research focuses on the development of a theoretical model that can more accurately represent the real effect of technology on utility. The model first provides a logical explanation of the constant and exponential growth rate of technology, and then modifies a traditional utility function and integrates it with an exponential growth rate of technology to explore the effect on the time path of utility.
As a society we strive for income growth because presumably the more money we have, the more we can consume and the happier we will be. However, this narrow view overlooks efficiency, which is critically important in improving happiness. We often focus on what goods we consume and focus on how much it costs to consume those goods, but we should instead focus on the functions those goods provide, and how the cost of consuming these functions has changed over time. Ultimately it is these functions that truly affect happiness and well being, not the actual good being consumed. While the distinction may seem theoretical and maybe even trivial, it is actually quite relevant. If we truly understand why we so greatly value income growth, it may become evident that in this age of technology income growth is neither an effective nor adequate measure of economic success.
Mullan, Daniel C., "The Age of Technology: How exponentially growing technology impacts utility". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2014.
Trinity College Digital Repository, https://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/360
Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Economics. Access is limited to the Trinity campus only.