Business Strategy and Public Policy
Edited by Yannis Caloghirou, Nicholas S. Vonortas and Stavros Ioannides
Chapter 10: Collaborative Research and Technology Policy in France
Mireille Matt The aim of this chapter is to characterize the French technology and research system with a speciﬁc focus on R&D cooperation between the diﬀerent economic actors. To provide an idea of the characteristics of the French S&T system this chapter underlines the following facts. France has developed a vast public research sector. More than 20 public research organizations and 160 universities and ‘Grandes Ecoles’ execute 37 per cent of the total R&D and employ 53 per cent of all researchers in the French economy. On the business side, R&D eﬀorts are concentrated on a small number of sectors and a small number of ﬁrms, mainly large companies. In order to innovate, ﬁrms collaborate with the private sector but not very often with public research actors. The public support of industry is rather small: in 1999, 12 per cent of research conducted by ﬁrms was funded by public funds. Of these public funds devoted to industry, 85 per cent were distributed to carry out defence and large-scale programmes. Mission-oriented policy tools are largely predominant in ﬁnancial terms. Moreover a very restrictive number of ﬁrms beneﬁt from these funds: mainly the national champions created by these policies. The organization of these programmes, in which secrecy is important and subcontracting is not, entails few externalities. The general French industrial policy, which includes technology policy, reinforces this concentration eﬀect: creation and control of large companies, public monopolies and protected cartels. The European Union...
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