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March 7th class notes.docx

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Political Science
PSCI 231
Brent Needham

th March 7Lecture Notes from Professor NeedhamIt has become standard knowledge today that technical progress is the engine of economic growth Developed and developing countries differ basically in their gross stock of capital in the average duration and quality of workers education in their expenditures on research and development RD and thus in their ability to produce and assimilate technological and organizational innovations The theory of national systems of innovation tries to explain different growth rates in various countries on the basis of national performances in production and adoption of innovation National performance depends not only on the amounts spent on RD but also on the institutions competencies and learning processes through which innovation takes placeTechnological InnovationThe theory of technological innovation which started with the concept of the entrepreneur presented in the writing of Schumpeter 1934 has progressively integrated larger organizations and become a systemic perspective with four major componentsFirst for technological innovation to occur actual or at least potential markets are essential these are usually but not necessarily domestic in nature Second most innovations have taken place within the research departments of established corporations and in a few cases within government or university laboratories or within entrepreneurial firmsThird governments have to provide innovating companies with some financial support in order to share the risks of both the research process and the market reaction to the novelty they also have to provide highly qualified workers technicians managers engineers and scientist who will create the innovation and move it toward the market Governments also provide the regulatory framework standards and protection of intellectual property through patents and trademarks required to stimulate innovation As well they create competence through the education system and usually intervene in creating the networks of innovators through which positive externalities occur among the different agents of the innovation systems Finally innovations appear not in isolation but most frequently in clusters for example new materials or new products require new processes and spur the creation of new machines These clusters point to the existence of underlying flows of knowledge among innovating organizations New products usually appear in a number of designs to serve different markets thus increasing the systemic nature of the processInnovation is basically a geographically located phenomenon at both national and regional levels Only some twenty countries possess the markets technological infrastructure financial institutions and qualified personnel required to create industrial novelty Within these nations a few urban regions concentrate most innovative activities such as Silicon Valley and route 128 in the United States Paris in France and the M4 Corridor in Britain But these countries and regions differ in the way in which they conduct innovation in institutions in the role of the state in openness to foreign ideas in1
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