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The Roles of Research at Universities and Public Labs in Economic Catch-up

  • Roberto Mazzoleni
  • Richard R. Nelson

We draw upon historical evidence from several countries and contemporary studies of national innovation systems to argue that indigenous systems of academic training and public research have been in the past important elements of the institutional structures supporting a country’s economic catch up. Recent changes in the international economic environment, and the growing scientific basis for contemporary technologies, will make those systems even more important in the future. The contributions of universities and public labs to the development of indigenous technological capabilities have taken different forms in different countries and economic sectors. However, we note that, in contrast with current emphasis on university-based embryonic inventions and fundamental research, effective research programs have predominantly occurred in the application-oriented sciences and engineering, and have been oriented towards problem-solving, and the advancement of technologies of interest to a well-defined user-community.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2006/01.

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Date of creation: 05 Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2006/01
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  1. Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard C. Levin & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1993. "On the Sources and Significance of Interindustry Differences in Technological Opportunities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1052, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Lee, Dal Hwan & Bae, Zong-Tae & Lee, Jinjoo, 1991. "Performance and adaptive roles of the government-supported research institute in South Korea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(10), pages 1421-1440, October.
  3. Nelson, Richard R. & Sampat, Bhaven N., 2001. "Making sense of institutions as a factor shaping economic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 31-54, January.
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