Edited by Dominique Foray
Chapter 6: Comments
6. Comments1 Dietmar Harhoff Thank you for allowing me to comment on the topic of Part I of the book and on three of the contributions. Our colleagues have contributed interesting and thought-provoking chapters. Some of the results they have discussed are based on long-standing and very fertile research programmes that they have initiated over the last decades. Some of the concepts have even become household names in innovation research: evolutionary theories of innovation and national systems of innovation, to name the two most prominent ones. These concepts have received considerable attention, both in the scientific community and in policy debates, and sometimes more in the latter than in the former. As researchers in economics, we are sometimes troubled by the fact that our theories and results are not being taken up by policy-makers. One can interpret this either as a response driven by academic vanity, or as a justified critique of the ignorance that some policy-makers portray. The observation may also demonstrate how badly we as researchers communicate our concepts to the policy community. But one of my concerns is the case in which a theory or concept is more cheerfully embraced by policy-makers than by other scientists – and not for the sake of its clarity and other virtues, but because of its flexibility in use. I will come back to this point later on. Advice from innovation researchers is currently very much sought after by policy-makers. There appears to be a real need or at least a desire...
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