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Industrial Renewal and Growth through Nanotechnology ? - An Overview with Focus on Finland

  • Palmberg, Christopher
  • Nikulainen, Tuomo

Hardly any other field has received so much public R&D investments globally in such a short time as nanotechnology. Nanotechnology can be considered as an umbrella term for R&D at the nanometer scale (1-100 nm) where unique phenomena enable novel applications. The interest given to nanotechnology is largely due to its perceived, and partly also over-hyped, generic nature and potentials to renew industries in a revolutionary way. Nonetheless, the field is still in a fluid and nascent phase without clear indications of how and where commercial breakthroughs will emerge on a larger scale. This paper aims to conceptualize nanotechnology in the literature on the economics of technological change, review the extant empirical research towards this end, and provide a brief overview and new insights into the development of nanotechnology in Finland. It discusses to what degree nanotechnology fits the criteria of a general purpose technology (GPT) and, in this context, highlights some important issues related to technology transfer, industrial dynamics and organisation. The case of Finland is interesting due to recent and relatively significant nanotechnology policy initiatives and the competitive position that it holds in many traditional industries. Although new firms also are emerging, Finnish nanotechnology primarily appears to be driven by scientific developments and the role of large firms is still small. Patenting is picking up from a low level, and process engineering and chemicals are emerging as the main application fields.

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Paper provided by The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy in its series Discussion Papers with number 1020.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:1020
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  1. Michael L. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 2010. "Grilichesian Breakthroughs: Inventions of Methods of Inventing and Firm Entry in Nanotechnology," NBER Chapters, in: Contributions in Memory of Zvi Griliches, pages 143-164 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Patent Quality and Research Productivity: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 441-465, 04.
  3. Maria Luisa Mancusi, 2000. "Geographical Concentration and the Dynamics of Countries' Specialization in Technologies," KITeS Working Papers 125, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Aug 2001.
  4. Luukkonen, Terttu, 2005. "Variability in organisational forms of biotechnology firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 555-570, May.
  5. repec:dgr:tuecis:0511 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Jan Fagerberg, 2003. "Schumpeter and the revival of evolutionary economics: an appraisal of the literature," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 125-159, 04.
  7. Chris Freeman, 2003. "Policies for Developing New Technologies," SPRU Working Paper Series 98, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  8. Andrea Bonaccorsi & Grid Thoma, 2005. "Scientific and Technological Regimes in Nanotechnology: Combinatorial Inventors and Performance," LEM Papers Series 2005/13, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  9. Adner, Ron & Zemsky, Peter, 2003. "Disruptive Technologies and the Emergence of Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 3994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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