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Leaders and Followers: Perspectives on the Nordic Model and the Economics of Innovation

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  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

This paper is an exercise in comparative institutional analysis, asking what kinds of arrangements most facilitate innovation. After identifying pervasive market failures in innovation, it explains why those associated with the Nordic model may be particularly conducive to innovation, and demonstrates that, in general, the optimal policies of the leader should differ from that of followers, but that both leaders and followers can benefit from active government policies (like industrial policies, public investments, and systems of social protection), not only leading to more innovation, but ensuring that more innovative activity is directed in ways that lead to the enhancement of living standards. It concludes by constructing a simple model in which knowledge flows slowly across national borders but moves easily within borders. We show there is a leadership-followership equilibrium, in which some countries are leaders, others are followers. Contrary to Solow's analysis, there need not be convergence. Focusing on technological progress that is a result of learning by doing, where learning occurs within the industrial sector but spills over to other sectors, we demonstrate the optimality of policies to expand the industrial sector beyond that which prevails in competitive equilibrium.

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  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2014. "Leaders and Followers: Perspectives on the Nordic Model and the Economics of Innovation," NBER Working Papers 20493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20493
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    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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