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From efficiency-driven to innovation-driven economic growth : perspectives from Singapore

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  • Kim-Song Tan
  • Sock-Yong Phang

Abstract

This paper looks at Singapore's efforts to transform the economic growth base from one that is predominantly efficiency-driven to one that is more innovation-driven. To accelerate the transition process, the government is aggressively investing in"innovation infrastructure"-systems and institutions that make the city a more conducive environment for innovations. The modus operandi, with a distinctive"winner-picking"flavor, mirrors that of its earlier strategic industrial policy in building up the manufacturing sector. It is also in sync with the new urban growth literature which argues that the success of any innovation-driven growth strategy depends on a city's ability to attract a large community of creative individuals in different fields. Innovation infrastructure building requires more than putting in the right systems. It also requires a mindset change at various levels of society. This paper looks at how the government's policy philosophy and practices have evolved over time, and discusses the effectiveness of the government-led, strategic supply-push approach in propelling Singapore onto an innovation-driven growth path. It takes into consideration the city-state's underlying comparative advantages (or disadvantages) and asks how Singapore's existing strength in efficiency infrastructure may give it a first mover advantage in attracting creative talent, how its success may be affected by the small size of the economy, and the various political and social constraints that a small sovereign city-state faces. These issues are explored against the backdrop of the keen competition among the major cities in the region to become an innovation hub.

Suggested Citation

  • Kim-Song Tan & Sock-Yong Phang, 2005. "From efficiency-driven to innovation-driven economic growth : perspectives from Singapore," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3569, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3569
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Phang, Sock-Yong, 2003. "Strategic development of airport and rail infrastructure: the case of Singapore," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 27-33, January.
    2. Alwyn Young, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-680.
    3. Scott Stern & Michael E. Porter & Jeffrey L. Furman, 2000. "The Determinants of National Innovative Capacity," NBER Working Papers 7876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Shahid Yusuf, 2003. "Innovative East Asia : The Future of Growth," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15158, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pfotenhauer, Sebastian M. & Wood, Danielle & Roos, Dan & Newman, Dava, 2016. "Architecting complex international science, technology and innovation partnerships (CISTIPs): A study of four global MIT collaborations," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 38-56.
    2. Nicola Kim Rowbotham, Adrian Saville & Douglas Mbululu, 2014. "Exchange Rate Policy and Export Performance in Efficiency-Driven Economies," Working Papers 469, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    3. Boon L. Lee & William Shepherd, 2009. "Output and Productivity Performance of Hong Kong and Singapore's Transport and Communications Sector, 1990 to 2005," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 65-91, March.
    4. J.J. Klink, 2011. "The Mobility of Labour and Capital: The Urban Implications of Changing International Trends," Chapters,in: International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 3, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Ketels Christian, 2017. "Working Paper 258 - Structural Transformation: A competitiveness-based view," Working Paper Series 2369, African Development Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Environmental Economics&Policies; ICT Policy and Strategies; Agricultural Research; Banks&Banking Reform;

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