Edited by Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen and Isabel Schwinge
Chapter 9: Trapped by the high-tech myth: the need and chances for a new policy rationale
Evidence-based policy has become a buzzword in most policy domains, including science, technology and innovation (STI) policies. Research efforts have indeed provided a significant amount of evidence: insights as to the nature and dynamics of knowledge creation, diffusion, and exploitation processes, lending theoretical justification for policy interventions. These results have influenced policy documents of major supranational organizations, too, such as the EU, the OECD and various UN organizations. Policy-making processes-in a broader sense: policy governance subsystems-themselves, together with the impacts of various STI policy tools have also become subjects of thorough analyses. Evidence cannot be turned into an 'optimal' set of policy measures in an 'objective', 'scientific' way as it needs to be interpreted in the context of given policy issues and then translated into actions. Moreover, different schools of thought offer contrasting policy advice, and perhaps more importantly, various actors also influence the policy-setting processes, pursuing their own interests and values. Thus, in spite of major research results, policy-making is still more of an art than an easy-to-handle 'technology', that is, a set of proven methods prescribed in handbooks with engineering precision-and STI policies are no exception. It is no surprise, therefore, that the world of STI policy-making is characterized by major puzzles. One of these is the apparent contradiction between the perceived 'European paradox' and the still dominant view of the importance of 'high-tech' research and 'high-tech' industries.
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