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The need to customise innovation indicators in developing countries


  • Iizuka, Michiko

    () (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)

  • Hollanders, Hugo

    () (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)


Innovation is becoming more and more important as a driver of economic growth. In developed countries, a diverse set of innovation indicators has been developed to monitor innovation performance and the impact of innovation policies. Developing countries have been late to jump on this bandwagon and are now faced with a set of well-established innovation indicators that might not be that well suited to measure innovation in their economies. Existing innovation indicators can be broadly classified into three different types: Science & Technology (S&T) indicators, Innovation survey indicators, and Composite innovation indicators combining different indicators, including S&T and Innovation survey data, into one indicator. All of these have their own particular strengths and weaknesses, and they score above or below average on a wide range of attributes considered to be favourable, if not downright necessary, for innovation indicators. This paper argues that, for innovation indicators, and for innovation survey indicators in particular, data collection has to be customised to the different socio-economic structures of developing countries. For this, the definition of innovation has to become more inclusive by recognising the multitude of innovation actors and processes in developing countries. Developing countries also need to build competence regarding innovation indicators, not only within their statistical systems but also among their policy makers.

Suggested Citation

  • Iizuka, Michiko & Hollanders, Hugo, 2017. "The need to customise innovation indicators in developing countries," MERIT Working Papers 032, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2017032

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grupp, Hariolf & Mogee, Mary Ellen, 2004. "Indicators for national science and technology policy: how robust are composite indicators?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1373-1384, November.
    2. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Andrea Saltelli, 2007. "Composite Indicators between Analysis and Advocacy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 65-77, March.
    4. Wipo, 2016. "Global Innovation Index 2016," WIPO Economics & Statistics Series, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division, number 2016:gii, December.
    5. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dominique Foray & Hugo Hollanders, 2015. "An assessment of the Innovation Union Scoreboard as a tool to analyse national innovation capacities: The case of Switzerland," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 213-228.
    7. Fred Gault, 2013. "Innovation indicators and measurement: challenges," Chapters,in: Handbook of Innovation Indicators and Measurement, chapter 19, pages 441-464 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    More about this item


    innovation; indicators; developing countries; policy use;

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O29 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Other
    • P47 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Performance and Prospects

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