Table of Contents

The New Economics of Technology Policy

The New Economics of Technology Policy

Edited by Dominique Foray

This book focuses on technological policies, in other words all public interventions intended to influence the intensity, composition and direction of technological innovations within a given entity (region, country or group of countries). The editor has gathered together many of the leading scholars in the field to comprehensively explore numerous avenues and pathways of research. The book sheds light on the theory and practice of technological policies by employing modern analytical tools and economic techniques.

Chapter 4: Increase Learning, Break Knowledge Lock-ins and Foster Dynamic Complementarities: Evolutionary and System Perspectives on Technology Policy in Industrial Dynamics

Franco Malerba

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


Franco Malerba INTRODUCTION 4.1 Which is the basic rationale for technology policy put forward by evolutionary theory and the innovation system perspective? In this chapter, I will focus on industrial dynamics and I will concentrate on the basic points of the two approaches. Given the limited space, I will not discuss the market failure approach, already done very effectively by Metcalfe (1995). I will discuss mainly technology policy, although innovation policies will also be examined. Evolutionary theory emphasizes learning, problem-solving activities and the competences of heterogeneous actors in uncertain and changing environments. The innovation system literature highlights interdependencies and complementarities among a wide set of different agents. Both approaches have several common aspects: the relevant effects of institutions on innovation, the differences in the sectoral and technological contexts and the role of interaction among heterogeneous actors in affecting the rate of technological change. In terms of public policies, evolutionary theory and the innovation system approach concentrate on dynamics, processes, relationships and interdependencies. The focus is on four key dimensions: why intervene, how, where and when. The why and how to intervene are also basic issues of the traditional approach to public policy. In an evolutionary and system view when to intervene (the timing) and where (in which part of the system) become crucial for policy. In fact policy intervention could take place too soon or too late. And policy needs to consider how established the technological trajectory is, the role of increasing returns, the stage of 33 34 The new...

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