Knowledge, Economic Growth And The Role Of Policy On The Role Of "Public-Private Partnerships" In The New "Knowledge-Driven" Economy
The paper examines the economic rationale for "public-private partnerships" to promote technological progress and growth in the new "knowledge-driven" economy. Three main arguments are advanced: First, the present policy agenda is caught up in a mismatch between micro-economic science and technology policies, on the one hand, and macroeconomic growth policies, on the other. While the former rely on an essentially evolutionary understanding of innovative processes which emphasise the need for decentralised public-private co-operation, the latter largely reflect the insights of the New Endogenous Growth Theory (NGT) which, however, advocates a standard market failure approach to economic policy, and innovation policies in particular. Second, the NGT is itself to blame for much of this confusion in that it is unclear with regard to its conceptualisation of knowledge as a factor of production and as a (public-private) good. Third, for "public-private partnerships" to work the underlying policy direction (privatisation or gradual socialisation) needs to be further specified. This, in turn, requires a clarification of whether knowledge is to be understood primarily as a disembodied factor of production or as embodied in the process of capital accumulation.
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