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Technology and the Future of European Employment

Technology and the Future of European Employment

Edited by Pascal Petit and Luc Soete

What is the potential of the new information and communication technologies? This book assesses the relationship between technological change and employment in all its dimensions, focusing on contemporary economies in Europe. The authors discuss patterns of growth, and the type of employment that countries might expect to be created following the introduction of these new technologies.

Chapter 14: Europe’s system(s) of innovation

Bruno Amable and Robert Boyer

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, labour economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, innovation policy


Bruno Amable and Robert Boyer 1. INTRODUCTION The debate concerning the sources of growth was renewed with the literature on endogenous growth theory. Technology as an exogenous trend was a common assumption in most growth models until the mid-1980s, at least as far as mainstream economics is concerned, since both the Kaldorian1 and neo-Schumpeterian2 schools used an endogenous determination of productivity improvements in their models. However, in the most widely accepted perspective concerning growth theory, if long-run development was seen as a consequence of innovation and the progress in knowledge, it was nevertheless implied that economists had not much to say about such phenomena and should hence take long-run technical progress as exogenous. The recognition that innovation and technical progress did not fall from heaven and the fact that a theory of long-run growth should explain technical change endogenously as well as, maybe, the confidence placed by economists in the explanatory power of the model of economic behaviour led to a questioning of the very cautious attitude held by traditional neoclassical modelling. Innovation and technical progress can be seen as the result of purposeful activities such as investment, either in physical or human capital, R&D expenditures and so on. Such investments are motivated by profit expectations and thus can be explained by standard economic models.3 Therefore, if one knows how to relate growth to innovation, knowledge accumulation or increases in the level of human capital of the labour force, one has a theory of long-run growth. All...

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