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Trapped by the high-tech myth: The need and chances for a new policy rationale

Havas, Attila (2014): Trapped by the high-tech myth: The need and chances for a new policy rationale. Published in: Hirsch-Kreinsen H, Schwinge I (eds) Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurship in Low-Tech Sectors: The Prospects of Traditional Economic Industries (May 2014): pp. 193-217.

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Against the backdrop of a strong plea for evidence-based policy, this paper juxtaposes how innovation is analyzed in mainstream economics and evolutionary economics of innovation, as well as their concomitant policy rationales. By discussing the indicators selected for the Innovation Union Scoreboard and another major EU report, it argues that the science-push model of innovation is still highly influential in the EU STI policy circles, despite a rich set of research insights stressing the importance of non-R&D types of knowledge in innovation processes. In conclusion, the chapter highlights the potential drawbacks of the persistent high-tech myth, considers possible reasons for its perseverance and discusses policy implications of the systemic view of innovation. Those include: i) STI policies should promote knowledge-intensive activities in all sectors, including low- and medium-technology industries and services; ii) it is a highly demanding set of tasks to identify systemic failures, devise appropriate policies to tackle those, and organize the required stakeholder dialogues; iii) several policies affect innovation processes and performance, perhaps even more strongly than STI policies, and hence policy goals and tools need to be orchestrated across several policy domains; iv) analysts and policy-makers need to be careful when interpreting their country’s ranking on ‘scoreboards’; v) the choice of an economics paradigm to guide policy evaluation is likely to be decisive.

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