Productivity, Innovation and Knowledge in Services

Productivity, Innovation and Knowledge in Services

New Economic and Socio-Economic Approaches

Edited by Jean Gadrey and Faïz Gallouj

Written by some of the most distinguished authors in the field, this book elucidates the critical and complex relationships between services, production and innovation. The authors discuss the limitations of current theories to explain service productivity and innovation, and call for a conceptual re-working of the ways in which these are measured. They also highlight the important role of knowledge in the production system and in doing so make an important contribution to a key debate which has emerged in the social sciences in recent years.

Preface by William J. Baumol

William J. Baumol

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, services, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


Preface William J. Baumol It has well been said that economists are qualified to predict anything but the future. But, occasionally, the future is already here, just waiting to be recognized. We can forecast the ethnic composition of the native-born labour force with some degree of confidence because its future members are already alive. In the same way, we can predict the division of tomorrow’s industrial economy among agriculture, manufacturing and services because the change is with us already. But it is only inadequately reflected in the writings of journalists and even in the economic literature. Observers worry when their economy falls behind in manufacturing employment, though the evidence indicates clearly that their primary concern should be about their nation’s role in the services. The new composition of employment is clear in the USA, for example. Despite the vast volume of its agricultural output, employment in that sector has fallen below 3 per cent of the total. As an industrial economy, it is curious that manufacturing jobs provide far less than an additional 20 per cent to this sum. The rest is services. Moreover, there is reason to believe that within those services the key to future growth is to be found. Terms such as ‘computer programs’ and ‘the Internet’ suggest dramatically that this is so, and the prosperity contributed in locations from Silicon Valley to Tel Aviv indicate how much is at stake. But this is not even the most fundamental point here. It is difficult to dispute that...

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