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The Tower Of Babel? The Innovation System Approach Versus Mainstream Economics

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Author Info

  • Johannes Hers

    (Ministry of Finance, The Hague, The Netherlands)

  • Niek Nahuis

    (Ministry of Finance, The Hague, The Netherlands)

Abstract

The Innovation systems (IS) approach and the system failures it identifies, play an important role in the design and legitimization of innovation policy. This paper analyses the usefulness of this concept. We conclude that the IS-approach can be useful to visualize the complexity of the innovation processes. However, for policy design this approach is less suited, because system failures aim at symptoms in stead of underlying incentive structures. In our view, policy design should be based on standard economic framework of market- and government failures. Theoretically, an exception is the system failure path dependency. However, the empirical evidence for the existence of this phenomenon is mixed. Furthermore, policy initiatives to tackle path dependence are likely to be subject to severe government failure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Method and Hist of Econ Thought with number 0403001.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 04 Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmh:0403001

Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on winXP; pages: 15
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: innovation policy; Innovation systems; market failure;

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  1. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Entry and Asymmetric Lobbying: Why Governments Pick Losers," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 1064-1093, 09.
  2. Hall, Bronwyn, 2002. "The Financing of Research and Development," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5rf0x9gz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Stephen E. Margolis & S.J. Liebowitz, . "Path Dependence, Lock-in and History," Working Paper Series 10, North Carolina State University, Department of Economics.
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  5. Rodolfo Manuelli & Ananth Seshadri, 2003. "Frictionless Technology Diffusion: The Case of Tractors," NBER Working Papers 9604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Boone, J. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Smulders, J.A., 2002. "Ideen voor vernieuwing van het innovatiebeleid," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-90194, Tilburg University.
  7. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
  8. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  9. Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 2002. "Evolutionary Theorizing in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 23-46, Spring.
  10. Adam B. Jaffe, 2002. "Building Programme Evaluation into the Design of Public Research-Support Programmes," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 22-34, Spring.
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