Building National and Regional Innovation Systems
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Building National and Regional Innovation Systems

Institutions for Economic Development

Jorge Niosi

Following the demise of the Washington Consensus, developing countries are looking for new ideas to guide their development. This innovative book suggests taking seriously some of the findings of evolutionary economics and paying specific attention to the institutions that matter for economic development, particularly those related to science, technology and innovation.
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Chapter 7: Regional Systems of Innovation: Four Cases

Jorge Niosi


1 Regional policy for science, technology, and innovation (STI) would be impossible in the absence of a national approach to innovation. Subnational units such as provinces, states or municipal governments do not have the legislative and financial resources needed to invest in such a risky area of activity. However, a national approach may not be enough to promote innovation. For several reasons, including historical accumulations of human capital in specific regions and deficiencies elsewhere, national policies may benefit some cities, metropolitan areas, or provinces. In this sense, construction of a national system of innovation (NSI) must precede the building of regional institutions. This is why regional STI policies and other regional institutions are now part of the full panoply of initiatives taking place in all OECD countries. This chapter aims to explain the rationale for development of regional STI initiatives, policies, and programs, as well as the roles therein of sciencebased agencies, departments, and other organizations. Also, the chapter assesses the performance of such institutions in those endeavours. Since the 1990s, regional agglomerations of industries and technologies have come to influence and shape STI policy. Several factors concur to explain such a trend: ● After over a half-century of national STI policy in OECD countries, it has become evident that only a few regions in each member country have taken advantage of such policy. In Canada, for example, Montreal and Toronto census metropolitan areas (CMAs), with 27 cent of the Canadian population, represent over half of business expenditure on R&D...

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