Health Policy and High-Tech Industrial Development

Health Policy and High-Tech Industrial Development

Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry

Edited by Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer

By weaving together the fields of health economics, industrial organisation and industrial development, this book describes the benefits of promoting a country’s health industry as a way of stimulating its high-technology industrial capacity. The authors illustrate that the development of a country’s health industry not only improves the country’s health status, but also promotes an industry with relatively stable, high-wage employment, creates the potential for exporting goods and services, and produces scientific spillovers that will favourably impact other high-technology industries.

Introduction: why apply industrial policy to the health industry?

Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, industrial economics, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer* INTRODUCTION An important goal of most industrialized countries is to promote its high-technology sectors, such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and telecommunication. These countries fear being left behind in the race for supremacy in each of these fields. An important issue facing any country desiring to compete is the appropriate role of government in these efforts. Many countries have a long tradition of promoting favoured industries in Europe and Asia, such as Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Korea. The USA has less of an explicit attitude toward this policy. Nonetheless, even the USA has engaged in strong government-supported industrial assistance programmes in areas including aerospace, aircraft, computer chips and flat display screens. Approaches are often less direct than those in Europe and Asia, but they are no less strong. WHY SHOULD HIGH-TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIES BE PROMOTED? The issue of industrial promotion is one of the most debated in our recent history (Deane, 1989). However, it should be emphasized that this issue has taken on special significance in recent years because of the growth of hightechnology, knowledge-based industries, and new answers are sought to develop, foster or protect these new industries.1 Dominant economic theory has reached the conclusion that, with few exceptions, government intervention is likely to lead to less, rather than more, efficiency: in this context, according to mainstream Economics, there is no need for industrial promotion policy. Nonetheless, if one looks at the last two centuries of our industrial development...