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How General Are General Purpose Technologies? Evidence from nano-, bio- and ICT-technologies in Finland

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  • Nikulainen, Tuomo
  • Kulvik, Martti

Abstract

General purpose technologies (GPT) have a significant impact on economic activity through radical technological change and wide technological diffusion. This paper aims to address the generality of technologies associated with the GPT concept. Information and communications technologies (ICT), biotechnology and nanotechnology are viewed as existing or potential general purpose technologies, but there is a lack of empirical evidence of their generality. This paper addresses the argument by using patent, industry and company level data from Finland. The results provide evidence that ICT, as expected, is a GPT. Nanotechnology shows signs of being potentially widely applicable, but for biotechnology the channels of technological diffusion seem to be fewer and more focused on areas where Finnish companies are less active. The results and discussion are also reflected on the newly formed innovation policy instrument in Finland - SHOKs (Strategic centres for science, technology and innovation), which aim to direct a large share of the Finnish public R&D subsidies towards more demand-based and incumbent-driven innovation activity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy in its series Discussion Papers with number 1208.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:1208

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Related research

Keywords: general purpose technology; technology diffusion; science-based technology; ICT; biotechnology; nanotechnology; SHOK;

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References

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  1. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1992. "General Purpose Technologies "Engines of Growth?"," NBER Working Papers 4148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maliranta, Mika & Nikulainen, Tuomo, 2008. "Labour Force Paths as Industry Linkages: A Perspective on Clusters and Industry Life Cycles," Discussion Papers 1168, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  3. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  4. Rothaermel, Frank T. & Thursby, Marie, 2007. "The nanotech versus the biotech revolution: Sources of productivity in incumbent firm research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 832-849, July.
  5. Nikulainen, Tuomo & Tahvanainen, Antti-Jussi, 2009. "Towards Demand Based Innovation Policy? The Introduction of SHOKs as Innovation Policy Instrument," Discussion Papers 1182, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  6. Palmberg, Christopher & Nikulainen, Tuomo, 2006. "Industrial Renewal and Growth through Nanotechnology ? - An Overview with Focus on Finland," Discussion Papers 1020, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  7. Jan Youtie & Maurizio Iacopetta & Stuart Graham, 2008. "Assessing the nature of nanotechnology: can we uncover an emerging general purpose technology?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 315-329, June.
  8. Nikulainen, Tuomo, 2007. "Identifying Nanotechnological Linkages in the Finnish Economy - An Explorative Study," Discussion Papers 1101, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  9. Tahvanainen, Antti-Jussi, 2009. "Finnish University Technology Transfer in a Whirl of Changes - a Brief Summary," Discussion Papers 1188, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  10. Hopkins, Michael M. & Martin, Paul A. & Nightingale, Paul & Kraft, Alison & Mahdi, Surya, 2007. "The myth of the biotech revolution: An assessment of technological, clinical and organisational change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 566-589, May.
  11. Lipsey, Richard G. & Carlaw, Kenneth I. & Bekar, Clifford T., 2005. "Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199290895.
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Cited by:
  1. Evangelos I. Gkanas & Vasso MagkouKriticou & Sofoklis S. Makridis & Athanasios K. Stubos & Ioannis Bakouros, 2013. "Nanotechnology and Innovation, Recent status and the strategic implication for the formation of high tech clusters in Greece, in between a global economic crisis," Papers 1303.5290, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2013.
  2. Kalm, Matias, 2012. "The Impact of Networking on Firm Performance - Evidence from Small and Medium-Sized Firms in Emerging Technology Areas," Discussion Papers 1278, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

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