UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Carlota Perez

Carlota Perez is Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP).

Carlota Perez
Carlota studies the socio-economic impact of technical change and the historical context of growth and development.

She is the author of the influential Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: the Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages (Elgar 2002), which focussed on the role that finance plays in the diffusion of technological revolutions.

During her fixed tenure as LSE Centennial Professor (2013-2016), she created the popular departmental course DV446: Technical Change, Paradigm Shifts and Global Development. She is also Professor of Technology and Development at the Technological University of Tallinn, and Honorary Professor at SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex. She is regularly invited to lecture at universities around the world.

She currently teaches in the MPA at IIPP, in the Masters in Technology Governance and Digital transitions at TalTech in Estonia, and in a post-graduate course at IDS (Institute of Development Studies), Sussex University.

Her career began in civil service, and has spanned academic research, teaching and consultancy. In the late 1970s, she conducted research at Venezuela’s Central University on the structural causes of the energy crisis. She was then a member of a think tank at the Institute of Foreign Trade and became the founding Director of Technological Development at the Ministry of Industry in the 1980s, where, among other policies to promote innovation and the use of the new information and electronics technologies, she created the first venture capital fund in the country.

She has been a consultant for several Latin American governments and multilateral organisations, such as UNCTAD, UNIDO, CEPAL, the OECD, the Andean Pact and the World Bank. In the mid-1990s, she was an advisor to INTEVEP, the R&D and technology arm of PDVSA, the national oil company in Venezuela.

Since the publication of her book she has frequently been asked to consult for global corporations (including IBM, Cisco, Telefonica, Mondragon, Ericsson, Sogeti and ING Bank) and to speak at major business and public sector events. From 2015 to 2016 she was the Chair of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Expert Group for Green Growth and Jobs.

She did her initial degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of Paris VII, and her Master’s – as her initial formulation of her great surges theory – in San Francisco State University. She has nurtured research links with several European universities. In 2021, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Utrecht.

Her current position as Honorary Professor at SPRU started with a research fellowship in 1983, when she began a long-term collaboration with Professor Chris Freeman. She has been teaching a postgraduate course at the Tallinn University of Technology since 2007 and was affiliated to CERF and Cambridge Finance at the Judge Business School of Cambridge University from 2002 until 2014.

For further information and access to videos and publications see: https://carlotaperez.org/

Research summary

In IIPP she participates in the EU-Horizon Project Beyond 4.0, looking at the way various analysts have understood technological revolutions, and about the possibility of smart, green, fair and global directions for the social shaping of the ICT revolution. As Academic in Residence at Anthemis UK, Professor Perez is currently working on her research project ‘Beyond the Technological Revolution’, which is a sequel to her book on the role of financial capital, this time analysing the historical role of the state in shaping technological revolutions.

Her areas of research and interest include:

  • The impact of technical change and technological revolutions on society, business and economies
  • Technological revolutions and techno-economic paradigm shifts
  • The roles of finance, markets and governments in promoting and propagating innovation
  • The diffusion of technological revolutions and the changing windows of opportunity for developing countries
  • Sustainability – ‘green growth’ – and its potential to serve as a driver of innovation, development, employment and economic revival
  • Conditions for natural resource-based innovation and development strategies
  • Technology and the potential for overcoming inequality

Selected publications

Journal articles
  • 2015 “Natural Resource Industries as a Platform for the Development of Knowledge Intensive Industries”, with A. Marin and L. Navas-Aleman in Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie (Journal of Economic and Social Geography), Volume 106, Issue 2, 154–168
  • 2013 “Unleashing a golden age after the financial collapse: Drawing lessons from history”, in Environmental Innovations and Societal Transitions, Vol. 80, No. 1, 11–23
  • 2010 “Technological revolutions and techno-economic paradigms”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 34, No.1, 185-202
  • 2010 “Technological dynamism and social inclusion in Latin America: CEPAL Review No. 100, 121-141. Original Spanish “Dinamismo tecnológico e inclusión social en América Latina: una estrategia de desarrollo productivo basada en los recursos naturales” Revista CEPAL No. 100, April, 123-145.
  • 2009 “La Otra Globalización: los Retos del Colapso Financiero.” [The other Globalisation: the Challenges of the Financial Collapse] Problemas del Desarrollo: Revista Latinoamericana de Economía, (UNAM-México) Vol. 40, No.157, 11-37
  • 2009 “The Double Bubble at the Turn of the Century: Technological Roots and Structural Implications”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 33, No. 4, 779-805
  • 2001 "Technological change and opportunities for development as a moving target", Cepal Review, No. 75, December, 109-130
  • 2000 "Change of paradigm in Science and Technology Policy", Cooperation South, TCDC-UNDP, No. 1-2000, 43-48
  • 1986 "Las Nuevas Tecnologías: Una Visión De Conjunto", in Estudios Internacionales, Año XIX, Oct.-Dic. 1986, No.76, Santiago de Chile, 420-459.
  • 1985 "Microelectronics, Long Waves and Technical Change: New Perspectives for Developing Countries”, World Development, Vol. 13, Nº 3, 441-463
  • 1983 "Structural change and assimilation of new technologies in the economic and social systems, Futures, Vol. 15, Nº 4, October, 357-375 and 1985, in Italian translation, in P. Bisogno ed., Paradigmi Tecnologici: Saggi Sull Economia del Progresso Tecnico, Prometheus No. 2, , Milan, 155-186. Reprinted in C. Freeman, ed. The Long Wave in the World Economy, International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, Edward Elgar, Aldershot, 1996.
Books and book chapters
  • 2019    “Transitioning to Smart Green Growth: Lessons from History” in Fouquet, Roger, ed. Handbook on Green Growth. Cheltenham: Elgar. Ch. 19 pp 447-463
  • 2018    With Tamsin Murray-Leach “Smart & Green: A New ‘European Way of Life’ as the Path for Growth, Jobs and Wellbeing “ in Re:Thinking Europe. Positions on Shaping an Idea, Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development. Vienna: Verlag Holzhausen. Pp. 208-223
  • 2016 “Could technology make natural resources a platform for industrialization? Identifying a new opportunity for Latin America (and other resource-rich countries)”.  In Noman, A. and J. Stiglitz (eds.) Efficiency, Finance, and Varieties of Industrial Policy. New York: Columbia University Press. Ch. 11
  • 2016 "Capitalism, Technology and a Green Global Golden Age: The Role of History in Helping to Shape the Future" in Mazzucato and Jacobs, Rethinking Capitalism. London: Wiley-Blackwell
  • 2015 "Innovation as Growth Policy: The Challenge for Europe" with Mazzucato, M., in Fagerberg, J., S. Laestadius and B. Martin (eds.) The Triple Challenge for Europe: Economic Development, Climate Change and Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Ch. 9, 227-262; previously published as SPRU Working Paper No. 13-2014, July 2014
  • 2014 "The possible dynamic role of natural resource-based networks in Latin American development strategies". with Marin and Navas-Aleman in Dutrénit and Sutz (eds.) National Innovation Systems, Social Inclusion and Development: The Latin American Experience, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
  • 2014 "A New Age of Technological Progress" in Umunna, C. (ed) Owning the Future, London: Policy Network
  • 2013 “Innovation systems and policy for development in a changing world”, in E, S, Andersen, J. Fagerberg and B. Martin (eds.) The Future of Innovation Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press development in a changing world”, in E, S, Andersen, J. Fagerberg and B. Martin (eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • 2013 “Financial bubbles, crises and the role of government in unleashing Golden Ages" in Pyka, A. and Burghof, H.P. (eds.) Innovation and Finance. London: Routledge, pp. 11 -25
  • 2007 "Finance and technical change: A long-term view" in H. Hanusch and A. Pyka, eds., The Elgar Companion to Neo-Schumpeterian Economics, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
  • 2006 “Respecialisation and the deployment of the ICT paradigm: An essay on the present challenges of globalisation” in Compano et al. eds., The Future of the Information Society in Europe, Technical Report EUR22353EN, IPTS, Joint Research Centre, Directorate General, European Commission, pp. 27-56.
  • 2002 Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, U.K. (Paperback 2003, Spanish version Siglo XXI 2004, South Korean edition, IBM, 2006, Chinese edition Renmin University 2007; Russian edition, Delo, 2011)
  • 1992 "New technological model and higher education: A view from the changing world of work", in Gustavo Lopez Ospina ed., Challenges and Options: Specific proposals, CRESALC/UNESCO, pp. 121-145.
  • 1988 "Structural Crises of Adjustment, Business Cycles and Investment Behaviour" (with C. Freeman), in G.Dosi et al. eds. Technical Change and Economic Theory, Francis Pinter, London, pp. 38-66. Reprinted in H. Hanusch ed.The Economic Legacy of Joseph Schumpeter, Elgar, London, 1998
  • 1988 "Catching Up in Technology: entry Barriers and Windows of Opportunity", (with L. Soete), in Dosi et al eds. Technical Change and Economic Theory, Francis Pinter, London, pp. 458-479.
  • 1986 "New Technologies and Development", in Freeman and Lundvall eds. Small Countries facing The Technological Revolution, Francis Pinter, London, UK, pp. 85-97 and 1989, in Italian, as "Nuove tecnologie e sviluppo", en Eugenio Bennedetti ed., Mutazioni tecnologiche e condizionamenti internazionali. FrancoAngeli, Milan, pp. 71-89. Reproduced in L. Mytelka, ed (2007). Innovation and Economic Development, volume 213 in The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics Series, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, Part I, chapter 2.