Institutions, Innovation and Growth

Institutions, Innovation and Growth

Selected Economic Papers

The Cournot Centre series

Edited by Jean-Philippe Touffut

The first book in this important new series, under the general editorship of Nobel Laureate Robert Solow, Institutions, Innovation and Growth assembles a stellar cast of international contributors. Leading economists join the debate on innovation and economic growth, focussing on a broad spectrum of issues ranging from labour markets to corporate governance. Growth paths within the OECD are also assessed, with particular emphasis on contrasts between US and European models. The book seeks to identify those institutional factors, taking into account different national trajectories, which might serve to promote economic growth in Europe.

Chapter 9: An overview of sustainable forms of growth: the economic institutions of a European model

Jean-Philippe Touffut

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


Jean-Philippe Touffut Europe, Japan, the United States – and then Europe again? During the latter half of the twentieth century each of the main poles of economic development seemed at one point as if it was about to become the principal reference for economic growth. For example, the 1990s were characterized by the spectacular success of the US economy, in contrast with the sluggishness displayed by its continental European rivals. The United States’ long period of expansion was supposed to go hand in hand with the emergence of a new regime of growth, one that was based (disproportionately) on the production and utilization of information technology tools. The impact of technical change raised important puzzles about the nature of economic growth, these being centred on productivity increase. In the mid-1990s, indeed, productivity in US business sectors grew at a rate close to that of the pre-1973 period. The causes of the rebound are still widely debated, although part of it is clearly due to exceptional productivity growth in the information and technology sectors. The present text does not attempt to sort out productivity disputes. Information technologies may actually have been relatively unimportant as a source of the post-1995 productivity revival. What really matters is the transformation of economic institutions.1 The latter play a crucial role in the types of transformations that may provide Europe with the wherewithal to benefit from information technology capital deepening. Analysing the drivers behind US expansion in the 1990s is one starting point for understanding the three...

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