Globalization, Change and Policy in Asia and Europe
Edited by Charles Edquist and Leif Hommen
Chapter 7: Reconsidering the Paradox of High R & D Input and Low Innovation: Sweden
7. Reconsidering the paradox of high R&D input and low innovation: Sweden Pierre Bitard, Charles Edquist, Leif Hommen and Annika Rickne 1 INTRODUCTION The notion of a ‘Swedish paradox’ has been central to recent innovation policy discussions in Sweden. When ﬁrst formulated, it was as a reﬂection of a high research and development (R&D) intensity in Sweden coupled with a low share of high-tech (R&D-intensive) products in manufacturing as compared to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. It was seen as a paradox between a high input and a low output measured by these speciﬁc indicators (Edquist and McKelvey, 1998).1 In other words, it pointed to a low productivity of the Swedish national system of innovation (NSI) in this speciﬁc sense. Subsequently, the expression has been used widely, but often formulated as a general relation between inputs and outputs – e.g. that the investments in R&D in Sweden are very large, but that the ‘pay-oﬀ’ (in terms, e.g., of growth and competitiveness) is not particularly impressive (e.g. Andersson et al., 2002, ch. 2). Due to varying uses of the concept, and since many formulations have been based on rather partial data, it is not yet clear to what extent there exists a paradox or where the gap between input and output resides. In this chapter, we shall discuss the Swedish paradox in terms of a relation between inputs of R&D and innovation eﬀorts and outputs of innovations...
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