'Chariots of fire': the evolution of tank technology, 1915-1945

C. Castaldi, R. Fontana, A. Nuvolari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We reconsider the notion of technological trajectories by means of a detailed case-study of the evolution of tank technology between 1915 and 1945. We use principal component analysis to analyze the distribution of technical characteristics and how they map into specific service characteristics. We find that, despite the existence of differences in technical leadership, tank designs of different countries show a high degree of overlap and closeness along a common technological trajectory. In the conclusions, we speculate on whether this pattern can be explained by common heuristics that influenced the rate and direction of design activities or by doctrinal viewpoints influencing the development and use of tanks in the battlefield.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-566
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Technological trajectories
  • Technological pardigms
  • Tanks


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