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Innovation, Growth and Social Cohesion

The Danish Model

Bengt-Åke Lundvall

Written by the scholar who, together with Chris Freeman, first introduced the concept of the innovation system, this book brings the literature an important step forward. Based upon extraordinarily rich empirical material, it shows how and why competence building and innovation are crucial for economic growth and competitiveness in the current era. It also provides a case study of a small, very successful European economy combining wealth creation with social cohesion.
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Bengt-Åke Lundvall


This book is a revised and updated version of a report published in Danish in the autumn of 1999 (the DISKO report). That report was addressed to policymakers and to other students of innovation policy in Denmark and it brought together the results of a big interdisciplinary project on the ‘Danish innovation and competence-building system in comparative perspective’. The project started in January 1996 and was financed by the Danish Agency for Trade and Industry. When the report was published in the autumn of 1999 it was presented at a seminar where leading representatives of eight national agencies (covering respectively industrial policy, economic policy, competition policy, labour market policy, vocational training, education policy, science policy and technology policy) were given an opportunity to comment on the analysis in the report and its policy recommendations. On the basis of the report and the discussion at the seminar, the Danish Agency for Trade and Industry worked out a policy memorandum for the government where many of the recommendations from the report were included. Less than a year later the Danish government presented its new plan for industrial development – dk 21 – to mark the new millennium. The most striking feature of dk 21 was that no less than eight ministries were involved in its preparation and responsible for its realization. Some of the recommendations in the DISKO report appear in the plan while others do not. And, of course, there are elements in dk 21 which have nothing to do with the DISKO...

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