New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Patarapong Intarakumnerd and Jan Vang
Chapter 12: Policy Learning as a Key Process in the Transformation of the Chinese Innovation Systems
Shulin Gu and Bengt-Åke Lundvall In this chapter we develop the idea of innovation systems (IS) and link it to policy learning in a developmental context with special reference to the transformation of China’s innovation system. We emphasize the evolutionary and systemic foundation of the innovation system’s approach and the requirements for an adaptive innovation policy. We present the transformation of China’s innovation system from the perspective of policy learning and indicate what further lessons remain to be learnt. INNOVATION SYSTEMS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND POLICY LEARNING Innovation systems may be deﬁned as sets of institutions, which jointly and individually contribute to the generation, diﬀusion and use of knowledge for the development, diﬀusion and application of new technologies. A major point with the system’s perspective is that the innovation performance of an economy depends not only on how the individual institutions, such as ﬁrms, research institutes and universities, perform in isolation, but especially on how they interact with each other in connection with collective knowledge creation and use (Metcalfe, 1995; Smith, 1996; OECD, 1999a: 24). The broader deﬁnition of innovation systems includes social institutions, macroeconomic regulation, ﬁnancial systems, education and communication infrastructures and market conditions as far as these have a major impact on innovation. The set of institutions that constitute an innovation system also provides the more or less broad framework in which governments play their role in formulating and implementing policies. As far as the wider set of institutions have a critical impact on...
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