Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 6: Innovation and Science and Technology Based Entrepreneurship in Italy: Structural Problems and Policy Challenges
Guido Corbetta and Alexandra Dawson1 INTRODUCTION Italy faces several key challenges, as indicated by its declining share in world trade and reduced productivity growth within the OECD.2 Its economic performance has also lagged behind that of other main European Union (EU) countries since the beginning of the 1990s. Italy’s negative performance is largely due to structural problems, including low investment in research and development (R&D), the prevalence of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the specialization of firms in traditional sectors, and the presence of strict regulations, reducing firms’ incentives to operate efficiently and introduce organizational change (OECD, 2008). However, there are some positive signals, such as efforts towards improving the mechanisms to transfer innovation into the entrepreneurial system. These include programmes promoted at central level (e.g. by the National Research Council), the creation of scientific and technological parks, and the establishment of technological districts. Although there is increasing cooperation between public and private research on the one side and firms on the other, the system needs to be further developed. The rapid progress of new technologies requires flexible markets, an advanced financial system, as well as increased public and private resources. Above all, there is a strong need to facilitate access by SMEs, as well as new firms, to applied research through mechanisms that allow the transfer of technology and scientific knowledge. The aim of this chapter is to address the main trends in the Italian innovation system and their impact on entrepreneurial activity in Italy. The chapter is...
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