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Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling
3 Neo-Schumpeterian perspectives on innovation and growth David Wolfe INTRODUCTION Traditional neoclassical models and more recent evolutionary, or neo-Schumpeterian, models of economics treat the link between technological innovation and long-term economic growth in significantly different ways. In the neoclassical approach, innovation is viewed largely as an exogenous variable, operating outside of the properties of the general equilibrium models. However, most studies of the innovation process highlight a number of facts that do not fit comfortably into the neoclassical framework. The focus in neoclassical economics is on the static efficiency of an economy in allocating scarce resources at a single point, rather than its dynamic efficiency in generating increasing resources over time. Its assumptions about the presumed rationality of economic agents, the easily codified and undifferentiated nature of technical knowledge, the relatively free access to knowledge by firms, and the largely symmetrical behaviour of identical firms in the innovation process, are challenged by the body of literature associated with the neo-Schumpeterian perspective of evolutionary economics (Nelson, 1994, 297–304; Lundvall, 2006). The adoption and application of neo-Schumpeterian perspectives over the past two decades 1990–2010 has led to a proliferation of approaches that place the innovation system at the centre of the analysis. The increasing salience of knowledge and innovation in the global economy focuses attention on the innovative capacity of national and regional economies, as well as on the specific dynamics of innovation associated with technological and sectoral systems. Innovation and technical progress are generated by a complex set of...
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