Asia’s Innovation Systems in Transition

Asia’s Innovation Systems in Transition

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Patarapong Intarakumnerd and Jan Vang

The success of Asian economies (first Japan, then Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and, more recently, China and India) has made it tempting to look for ‘an Asian model of development’. However, the strength of Asian development lies less in strategies that reproduce successful national systems of innovation and more in the capacity for institutional change to open up new development trajectories with greater emphasis on knowledge and learning. The select group of contributors demonstrate that although there are important differences among Asian countries in terms of institutional set-ups supporting innovation, government policies and industrial structures, they share common transitional processes to cope with the globalizing learning economy.

Chapter 5: Thailand’s National Innovation System in Transition

Patarapong Intarakumnerd

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

Extract

Patarapong Intarakumnerd 1. INTRODUCTION While the study on the NIS concept as a whole is still at an early stage, the study on NISs in developing countries is at an even more primitive stage. Most studies on developing countries were on countries such as Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, which have more aggressive policies and ‘intensive technological learning’, hence, to a certain extent, successfully catching up with developed countries (see Kim, 1993; Hou and Gee, 1993; Wong, 1995; Wong, 1999). Little is known about the innovation, entrepreneurships, dynamics and changes in a less successful developing country where its innovation system can be characterized as weak and fragmented. It is also interesting to examine whether and how it can be transformed to a stronger and coherent one. This chapter tries to supplement these studies of the NIS by exploring Thailand as a case study. It will especially focus on the transitional process of its NIS from being weak and fragmented to becoming stronger and more coherent. The economic performance of Thailand during the past 40 years has been rather impressive. During this period, the growth rate of GDP of Thailand was around 7 per cent, more or less similar to those of the Newly Industrialized Economies (Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong). However, the policy regime adopted by Thailand was different, in that Thailand appeared primarily to take inspiration from the NIEs’ export orientation and less from their state activism (this will be discussed in detail in section 3.1). Like NIEs,...

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