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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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Chapter 6: Education, Labour Markets and Capital Markets as Fundamental Components of the Danish Innovation and Competence-building System

The Danish Model

Bengt-Åke Lundvall


One important dimension of the Danish innovation system is its specialization. Another is its institutional set-up, particularly the construction of the institutions and markets that are responsible for communicating strategic resources to companies. In this chapter we will delineate the characteristics of the system of education, the labour market and the capital market from the perspective of innovation policy. In the second half of the book, we shall examine more closely some specific aspects of these markets and institutions, especially the organization and content of vocational training. In Chapter 12 we shall look more closely at the system of adult vocational training, while in Chapter 13 we analyse the impact of firm behaviour on labour market dynamics and vice versa. The following discussion of education is almost entirely based upon a perspective of industrial development. It is obvious that this is a limited perspective and that education has much broader social and cultural functions. Education is also about the self-realization of individuals and this is a perspective that has always been given high priority in Denmark. DANISH COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOLS In connection with the increased awareness that knowledge is a strategic resource in economic development, the system of education has undergone close scrutiny, not least by economists both internationally and in the course of national debate. It is thus characteristic that the 1997 OECD report on the Danish economy gives high priority to a critical analysis of the system of education (OECD 1997b). The Danish Ministry of Finance has also began...

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