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The Social Dimension of the Learning Economy


  • Bengt-Åke Lundvall


This paper is a slightly revised version of Bengt-Åke Lundvall's Inaugural Lecture, the 10th of November at Department for Business Studies, Aalborg University. The general message is that the growing frequency of so-called paradoxes in economic theory and of unsolved socioeconomic problems reflects that neither economic theory nor policy has been adapted to the fact that we have entered a new phase: the 'Learning Economy'. It is shown that in the learning economy the capacity to learn increasingly determines the relative position of individuals, firms and national systems. The growing polarisation in the OECD-labour markets is explained by the increasing importance of learning and the acceleration in the rate of change. Finally, it is argued that the learning economy will not be sustainable if these tendencies are not countered by a New New Deal which puts the focus on the distribution of capabilities to learn

Suggested Citation

  • Bengt-Åke Lundvall, 1996. "The Social Dimension of the Learning Economy," DRUID Working Papers 96-1, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:96-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
    2. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1994. "Methodological Individualism and Social Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 1-9, May.
    3. Carter, Anne P., 1989. "Knowhow trading as economic exchange," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 155-163, June.
    4. Freeman, C., 1991. "Networks of innovators: A synthesis of research issues," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 499-514, October.
    5. Pavitt, Keith, 1991. "What makes basic research economically useful?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 109-119, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dieter Ernst & Bengt-åke Lundvall, 2004. "Information Technology in the Learning Economy: Challenges for Developing Countries," Chapters,in: Globalization, Economic Development and Inequality, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Dieter Ernst, 1999. "Responses to the Crisis Constraints to a Rapid Trade Adjustment in East Asia´s Electronics Industry," DRUID Working Papers 99-2, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Arnoud Lagendijk, 1998. "New forms of regional industrial policy in Europe: How do policy makers understand 'competitiveness' and 'clusters'?," ERSA conference papers ersa98p388, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Schwartz, Michael & Hornych, Christoph, 2010. "Informal networking: An overview of the literature and an agenda for future research," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2010,1, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    5. Motta, Jorge & Morero, Hernán, 2008. "El conocimiento productivo aplicado en el sector autopartista de Córdoba: sus distintas dimensiones
      [The productive knowledge applied in the auto parts sector in Cordoba: its various dimensions]
      ," MPRA Paper 26805, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Luciano PILOTTI & Maria VERNUCCIO & Andrea GANZAROLI, 2011. "Tassonomia, topologia e tipologia dei sistemi produttivi locali in Italia: un tentativo di sintesi," Departmental Working Papers 2011-22, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    7. Jose M Barrutia & Carmen Echebarria & Ainhize Gilsanz, 2011. "Social capital and innovation: an empirical analysis in the context of European regions," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1347, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Robert J. Stimson, 2014. "Proximity and endogenous regional development," Chapters,in: Regional Development and Proximity Relations, chapter 1, pages 47-93 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. repec:spr:grdene:v:18:y:2009:i:5:d:10.1007_s10726-008-9137-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Vanessa Casadella & Mohamed Benlahcen-Tlemcani, 2006. "De l'applicabilité du Système National d'Innovation dans les Pays Moins Avancés," Innovations, De Boeck Université, vol. 24(2), pages 59-90.
    11. Wedemeier, Jan, 2009. "Creative cities and the concept of diversity," HWWI Research Papers 1-20, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    12. Shenja van der GRAAF, 2014. "Smarten Up! Open Data, Toolkits and Participation in the Social City," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(96), pages 35-52, 4th quart.
    13. Schwartz, Michael, 2006. "Die Learning Economy aus Netzwerkperspektive: Mechanismen und Probleme," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2006,4, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    14. Niosi, Jorge, 2002. "National systems of innovations are "x-efficient" (and x-effective): Why some are slow learners," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 291-302, February.
    15. Igor Pilipenko, 2005. "Clusters and Territorial-Industrial Complexes - Similar Approaches or Different Concepts? - first Evidence from Analysis of Development of Russian Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa05p70, European Regional Science Association.
    16. Xavier Gellynck & Bert Vermeire, 2009. "The Contribution of Regional Networks to Innovation and Challenges for Regional Policy," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 719-737, September.
    17. Jukka Kaisla, 1998. "The Market Process and the Emergence of the Firm Some Indications of Entrepreneurship Under Genuine uncertainty," DRUID Working Papers 98-17, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    18. Bengt-Åke Lundvall & Frank Skov Kristensen, 1997. "Organisational Change, Innovation and Human Resource Development as a Response to Increased Competition," DRUID Working Papers 97-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    19. Passiante, Giuseppina & Secundo, Giustina, 2002. "From geographical innovation clusters towards virtual innovation clusters: The innovation virtual system," ERSA conference papers ersa02p270, European Regional Science Association.
    20. Alberto Gherardini & Antonio Russo, 2014. "I vettori dell’innovazione nei cluster europei dell’ICT," ECONOMIA E SOCIETÀ REGIONALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(2), pages 161-186.
    21. Paula Andréa Marques do Valle & Dnilson Carlos Dias, 2010. "The University as a knowledge reservoir - the comparative study of bussines and engineering undergraduate students' profile of the Federal University of Goiás (UFG)," Working papers - Textos para Discussao do Curso de Ciencias Economicas da UFG 021, Curso de Ciencias Economicas da Universidade Federal de Goias - FACE.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations


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