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What is the 'Knowledge Economy'? Knowledge Intensity and Distributed Knowledge Bases

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  • Smith, Keith

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    (United Nations University, Institute for New Technologies)

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    Abstract

    In recent years public policies for science, technology and innovation have attracted increased attention as a result of claims that knowledge-intensive industries are now at the core of growth, and that we are now entering a completely new form of 'knowledge society'. The objectives of this paper are firstly to examine what various authors mean by the concept of a knowledge economy or learning economy; secondly to describe quantitatively the creation and use of knowledge across industries; thirdly to develop an approach to understanding the knowledge intensity of mature, 'traditional' or low-technology industries. In exploring this issue, the paper first uses Community Innovation Survey data to describe some empirical dimensions of knowledge creation in Europe. It shows that knowledge investments are economy wide, not confined to high-tech sectors, and not confined to R&D. The paper then turns to concepts and a methodology for mapping the knowledge base of an economic activity. The aim is to generate a more nuanced understanding of the meaning of 'knowledge intensity' in production. The approach rests on what the paper terms 'distributed knowledge bases' that have a systemic and institutionally diffuse location. Knowledge for many key activities is distributed among agents, institutions and knowledge fields, and the problem is to understand the embodied and disembodied knowledge flows between them. An empirical example of such knowledge bases is described, for the food processing industry. The paper concludes by discussing how such 'distributed knowledge bases' might affect our conceptions of the knowledge economy and suggests links to current policy challenges in both developed and developing economies

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by United Nations University - INTECH in its series UNU-INTECH Discussion Paper Series with number 06.

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    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:unm:unuint:200206

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    Keywords: Public Policy; Learning Economy; Knowledge; Technology Transfer;

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    Cited by:
    1. Ioan Achim Moise & Teodora Popescu, 2008. "What Are Romania’S Chances Of Becoming A Knowledge-Based Economy?," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(10), pages 47.
    2. Markus Grillitsch & Christoph Höglinger & Franz Tödtling, 2011. "Location, knowledge sourcing and innovation – Evidence from the ICT sector in Austria," ERSA conference papers ersa10p676, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Matthias Duschl & Thomas Brenner, 2011. "Characteristics of Regional Industry-specific Employment Growth – Empirical Evidence for Germany," Working Papers on Innovation and Space 2011-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    4. Welfe, Wladyslaw, 2011. "Long-term macroeconometric models: The case of Poland," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 741-753, January.
    5. Schilirò, Daniele, 2008. "Knowledge, learning, networks and performance of firms in knowledge-based economies," MPRA Paper 30901, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Schilirò, Daniele, 2010. "Knowledge-based economies and the institutional environment," MPRA Paper 37138, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Michaela Trippl, 2010. "Low_Tech Innovation in a High-Tech Environment? The Case of the Food Industry in the Vienna Metropolitan Region," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2010_02, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    8. Macneill Stewart & Hugues Jeannerat, 2013. "Mobility of Knowledge. Territorial Knowledge Dynamics in luxury car industry. Beyond standard and production markets," GRET Publications and Working Papers 01-13, GRET Group of Research in Territorial Economy, University of Neuchâtel.
    9. Trippl, Michaela & Todtling, Franz, 2008. "From the Ivory Tower to the Marketplace: Knowledge Organisations in the Development of Biotechnology Clusters," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 38(2).
    10. Bianca Potì & Emanuela Reale & Monica Di Fiore, 2007. "The role of R/D expenditure: a critical comparison of the two (R&S and CIS) sources of data," CERIS Working Paper 200707, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO).
    11. Benoît Godin, 2006. "The Knowledge-Based Economy: Conceptual Framework or Buzzword?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 17-30, 01.
    12. Władysław Welfe, 2008. "A Knowledge-Based Economy: New Directions of Macromodelling," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 167-180, May.

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