Innovation and Inequality
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Innovation and Inequality

Emerging Technologies in an Unequal World

Edited by Susan Cozzens and Dhanaraj Thakur

Inequality is one of the main features of globalization. Do emerging technologies, as they spread around the world, contribute to more inequality or less? This unique interdisciplinary text examines the relationships between emerging technologies and social, economic and other forms of inequality.
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Chapter 2: An introduction to the case study countries

Dhanaraj Thakur and Susan Cozzens

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Eight different countries form the contexts for our technology stories: Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Jamaica, Malta, Mozambique, and the United States. What kinds of places are these? Which of their characteristics might have been particularly influential in the trajectories of each of the five technologies? This chapter invites the reader into the national contexts for technological choice. Part II of the book returns to these contexts to analyze in more detail how they affected the trajectories of the five technologies. Table 2.1 provides an overview of the countries in question. On all indicators there is a wide range in terms of population size and economy. The group also has very different levels of development represented by the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index (UNDP HDI) rank, GDP/capita, and national poverty rates. These two indicators in particular point to two broad categories, four are from the Global North and four are from the Global South. As is often the case, those in the latter exhibit a lot more variance across all indicators than those in the former. Note however, income inequality is spread across all countries; high inequality is not restricted to the Global South. Similarly, we see that gender inequality (in terms of empowerment, labor force participation, and reproductive health) is spread across both sets of countries. Of particular relevance here is science and technology capability, represented in Table 2.1 by R & D expenditure and gross tertiary enrollment ratios.

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