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Technology and development: Unpacking the relationship(s)


  • Jan Fagerberg

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)

  • Martin Srholec

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)


Innovation is, as Joseph Schumpeter once pointed out, above all a combinatory phenomenon. Success in accessing knowledge and exploiting it in a way that is beneficial for development depends on the ability to combine many different skills and resources, of which many will be external to the firm. Arguably, political choices, past as well as present, the quality of governance and the business environment, availability of skills, finance and broader social and cultural characteristics may all have a say for how well this combinatory dynamics works. Based on a review of the literature on how technological, economic and social factors interact in the development process this paper sets out to explore these interrelationships empirically. The results, based on data for 75 countries on different levels of development, suggest that there is a strong correlation between technological capability, (innovation-friendly) governance and social capital, confirming, it is suggested, the important role played by politics and deeper social and cultural factors for technological catch-up (or lack of such). This contrasts with the role played by for instance openness to trade, FDI, etc., which - according to the results presented here - hardly correlates with anything.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Fagerberg & Martin Srholec, 2008. "Technology and development: Unpacking the relationship(s)," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20080623, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tik:inowpp:20080623

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Fagerberg & Bengt-Åke Lundvall & Martin Srholec, 2018. "Global Value Chains, National Innovation Systems and Economic Development," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 30(3), pages 533-556, July.
    2. Micheline Goedhuys & Pierre Mohnen & Tamer Taha, 2016. "Corruption, innovation and firm growth: firm-level evidence from Egypt and Tunisia," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 6(3), pages 299-322, December.
    3. Jan Fagerberg & Martin Srholec, 2009. "Knowledge, Capabilities and the Poverty Trap: The Complex Interplay Between Technological, Social and Geographical Factors," ICER Working Papers 24-2009, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    4. Riccardo Crescenzi & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Michael Storper, 2012. "The territorial dynamics of innovation in China and India," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(5), pages 1055-1085, September.
    5. Michaela Staníčková & Lukáš Melecký, 2013. "EU Competitiveness in the World Economy Globalization Process [Konkurenceschopnost Evropské unie v procesu globalizace světové ekonomiky]," Současná Evropa, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2013(1), pages 101-122.
    6. Jose Guadalupe Vargas Hernandez, 2015. "Theoretical Approaches For The Analysis Of Innovation Capacity As A Factor That Affects The Competitiveness Of Software Industry Of Jalisco," Interdisciplinary Management Research, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Faculty of Economics, Croatia, vol. 11, pages 904-935.
    7. Jan Fagerberg, 2010. "The Changing Global Economic Landscape: The Factors that Matter," Chapters, in: Robert M. Solow & Jean-Philippe Touffut (ed.), The Shape of the Division of Labour, chapter 1, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Fagerberg , Jan & Srholec , Martin, 2015. "Capabilities, Competitiveness, Nations," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/2, Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research.
    9. Vít Macháček & Martin Srholec, 2021. "RETRACTED ARTICLE: Predatory publishing in Scopus: evidence on cross-country differences," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 126(3), pages 1897-1921, March.
    10. Isabel Alvarez & Georgina Maldonado, 2009. "Technology, foreign-owned firms and competitiveness in the middle-income countries," Analele Stiintifice ale Universitatii "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" din Iasi - Stiinte Economice (1954-2015), Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 56, pages 397-419, November.
    11. Borrás , Susana & Edquist , Charles, 2013. "Competence Building: A Systemic Approach to Innovation Policy," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/28, Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research.
    12. Francesco Bogliacino & Giulio Perani & Mario Pianta & Stefano Supino, 2010. "Innovation and Development. The Evidence from Innovation Surveys," Working Papers of BETA 2010-13, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    13. Jan Fagerberg & Martin Srholec, 2017. "Capabilities, economic development, sustainability," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 41(3), pages 905-926.

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