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Productivity, Innovation and Knowledge in Services

New Economic and Socio-Economic Approaches

Edited by Jean Gadrey and Faïz Gallouj

Written by some of the most distinguished authors in the field, this book elucidates the critical and complex relationships between services, production and innovation. The authors discuss the limitations of current theories to explain service productivity and innovation, and call for a conceptual re-working of the ways in which these are measured. They also highlight the important role of knowledge in the production system and in doing so make an important contribution to a key debate which has emerged in the social sciences in recent years.
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Chapter 5: Growth and Productivity in a Knowledge-based Service Economy

Pascal Petit


Pascal Petit1 The growth regimes of developed economies are currently strongly influenced by a broad technological change centred around the information and communication technologies (ICTs). This transformation takes full advantage of the internationalization and tertiarization experienced by these economies. More precisely the diffusion of these new technologies contributes specifically to the present phases of the long-term trends of expansion of international transactions and service activities. The accumulation regimes of such economies present strong growth potentials but realization of these potentials is severely conditional. It requires in particular that the impetus of some sectors diffuses to other activities and that, conversely, the welfare improvement obtained by some social classes spreads as well to others. It is a straightforward matter of the growth process gaining some momentum, but it cannot be achieved by a sheer redistribution of incomes and requires important improvements in information and knowledge of the industries and of the people lagging behind. As we shall stress hereafter, emerging growth regimes, whether classified as ‘New Economies’ or knowledge-based economies, have not really delivered their promises. For all medium and large countries, including the most celebrated case of the United States, growth rates remained rather modest over the 1990s. The bursting of the new technology bubble, initiated in spring 2000, that halved their stock market values within a year, complicates the issue, given that the rise of productivity gains in the USA in the late 1990s had led to the hope that a new era of strong and steady growth was...

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