Science and Innovation

Science and Innovation

Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller

This book re-examines the rationale for public policy, concluding that the prevailing ‘public knowledge’ model is evolving towards a networked or distributed model of knowledge production and use in which public and private institutions play complementary roles. It provides a set of tools and models to assess the impact of the new network model of funding and governance, and argues that governments need to adapt their funding and administrative priorities and procedures to support the emergence and healthy growth of research networks. The book goes on to explain that interdependencies and complementarities in the production and distribution of knowledge require a new and more contextual, flexible and complex approach to government funding, monitoring and assessment.

Commentaries

Cristiano Antonelli and Bronwyn H. Hall

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy

Extract

CRISTIANO ANTONELLI* 1 In the Matter of the Knowledge Commons Important shifts in the economics of knowledge have occurred in recent years. Consensus on the analysis of the public good characters of knowledge has been first contrasted to, and eventually substituted by, the new argument about the quasi-private nature of technological knowledge. The appreciation of demand-side externalities and external knowledge at large has called for renewed interest in the mechanisms of governance upon which the production and the distribution of knowledge builds. The understanding of multiple equilibria and micro–macro feedbacks refocuses attention on the crucial role of economic policy which had important consequences for the institutional design of the organization of the production and distribution of knowledge. The process by which this shift in the economics of knowledge has occurred can be summarized in three stages. The first recalls the ingredients of the great swing from the build-up of the public knowledge commons to the wave of privatizations and liberalization. Identification of the central role of external knowledge in the production of new knowledge marks the second step, where the discovery of the knowledge trade-off stresses the role of the governance in all interactions and exchanges for knowledge. Understanding of the instability of market interactions in the production and distribution of technological knowledge should pave the way to the third step, where a new scope for an economic policy able to manage dynamic coordination issues is identified. 2 The Great Swing The seminal contributions of Kenneth Arrow...

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