Globalization, Change and Policy in Asia and Europe
Edited by Charles Edquist and Leif Hommen
Chapter 1: Comparing National Systems of Innovation in Asia and Europe: Theory and Comparative Framework
Charles Edquist and Leif Hommen 1 INTRODUCTION The concept of national systems of innovation (NSI) emerged in the late 1980s and started to diﬀuse more rapidly in the early 1990s with the seminal contributions of Lundvall (1992) and Nelson (1993). It has attracted the attention of many innovation researchers and policy makers (e.g. Amable, 2000; Edquist, 1997, 2005; Freeman, 1997, 2002; Lundvall, 1988; Mytelka and Smith, 2002; OECD, 1997, 2002; Saviotti, 1996) and has rapidly achieved broad international diﬀusion in both developed and developing countries (e.g. Correa, 1998; Kaiser and Prange, 2004; Liu and White, 2001; Niosi, 1991).1 However, progress in reﬁning the NSI concept has been uneven and diﬃcult to assess, given that ‘no single deﬁnition has yet imposed itself on NSI research’ (Niosi, 2002, p. 291) and many of the key terms are used in an ambiguous way. As argued previously (Edquist, 2005, pp. 201–3), there is therefore a need for theoretically based empirical research to ‘straighten up’ the approach and make it more ‘theory-like’. A comparative research project on varieties of NSI, as well as determinants of innovation processes within them, may make particularly valuable contributions to such an eﬀort. The ‘ten countries’ research project addressed in this volume – so called because it compared ten ‘small economy’ SI – started operating in a practical sense in the latter half of 2002. However, it also had a lengthy ‘prehistory’, in which diﬀerent versions of the project description were discussed by...
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