Friday, October 29, 2010

The world of tomorrow and post futurism

I was surfing the web on the weekend and accidently I came across some info and videos that filled an important gap in my understanding of a book that was meaningful in my childhood.

When I was in primary (elementary) school I came across a book called "The World of Tomorrow" and I was instantly hooked on understanding technology and increasingly the way it develops or doesn't. The book had great glossy photos of amazing looking vehicles. My older brother had railway sets and the photos looked liked they were based on a model but apart from the attribution to General Motors in the notes section there was no commentary on the photos themselves.

The book was interesting because it didn't present possibilities of the future it presented one version as a technological forecast. Although, the author missed the mark with various technologies he was quite accurate with an number of predictions to do with communications and electronics. The biggest failure of the book was that there was no role for societial / demongraphics shifts influencing the use of technologies. Today, we understand much better, but still to little, about how to understand the future. Thus one of my hobbies is collecting and reading old books that make technological predictions.

Anyway, on the weekend I discovered the photos come from the General Motors exhibit at the 1964 World Fair (New York), which they called Futurama II. There are some great videos on the web which give you the experience of their display.

Futurama 1, 1939 World Fair.

Futurama 2, 1964 World Fair.

Assembling Futurama 2

While, obviously such work ends up being being as much works of fiction as prediction they interset on how we understand innovation and the systems of institutions that turn them into reality. More importantly, we can learn from such work that there still exists a blurry space between traditional innovation systems studies (focussed on economies) and science and technology studies with its interest in culture, gender and other social issues.We can learn much from how the past understood the future.

Interestingly, for me there are clearly epochs in history when populations are captivated by the future being full of better possibilities and others when the prevaiding mood is more depressed or post-futurist. It would be interesting to characterise communities on the basis of such moods for their effect of the social innovation system as opposed to the business innovation system.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Nature of cities

This week the Journal Nature has an interesting series of articles, all with a focus on cities. A couple of the articles focus on the production of science in cities with a few references to the usual suspects in innovation studies.

However, more interesting are the articles on 'a unified theory of urban living' and the role of cities in climate change action. Just as it is with nations and economics which are bound in geo-politics and power, it seems that cities have more freedom to maneuver and take direct action. Once again we see the need for a re-balancing of governance powers. How many city governments take seriously their responsibility to interact with their educational institutions above the level of high school? How many city governments interact on industry / innovation policy? And how many are even recognised in national constitutions?

Money and power seemingly flows downwards but increasing the action needs to be in managing upwards.

Friday, October 1, 2010

September's interesting links

With the focus worldwide on stabilising the global economy and jumpstarting growth, a strong emphasis on directed pro-innovation policies can be a rainbow of hope for nations worldwide. Third in the series, the Global Innovation Index and Report 2009-10 brought out this year, like last, by the world's business school INSEAD in partnership with India's Confederation Industry (CII) has stressed the importance of innovation in country competitiveness and development strategies and is clearly one of the most comprehensive assessments of innovation-this time covering 132 nations.

Europe in figures – Eurostat yearbook 2010 – presents a comprehensive selection of statistical data on Europe. With just over 450 statistical tables, graphs and maps, the yearbook is a definitive collection of statistical information on the European Union. Most data cover the period 1998-2008 for the European Union and its Member States, while some indicators are provided for other countries, such as candidate countries to the European Union, members of EFTA, Japan or the United States. The yearbook treats the following areas: the economy; population; health; education; the labour market; living conditions and welfare; industry and services; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; trade; transport; environment and energy; science and technology; and Europe’s regions. This edition’s spotlight chapter covers national accounts statistics – with a particular focus on the economic downturn observed during 2008/2009. The yearbook may be viewed as a key reference for those wishing to know more about European statistics, providing guidance to the vast range of data freely available from the Eurostat website.

It all about how we use apps but don't necessarily surf the web.

This second edition of the OECD Economic Globalization Indicators presents a broad range of indicators showing the magnitude and intensity of globalization. This process is becoming increasingly important for policymakers and other analysts, hence the need for a volume that brings together the existing measures, based on national data sources and comparable across countries. Together, the indicators shed new light on financial, technological and trade interdependencies within OECD and non-OECD countries.Measures of globalization include indicators on capital movements and foreign direct investments, international trade, the economic activity of multinational firms and the internationalisation of technology. In addition, the 2010 edition also includes indicators linked to the current financial crisis, portfolio investments, environmental aspects and the emergence of global value chains.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August's interesting links

This month I am going to start posting links to interesting material that I see (but obviously haven't necessarily read) that month.

  • T Niedomysl, H K Hansen. What matters more for the decision to move: jobs versus amenities Environment and Planning A 2010, volume 42, pages 1636 - 1649
Highly skilled workers are increasingly recognised as a key competitive asset for regional development, and claims have been made that emphasise the importance of certain amenities for the prospects of attracting this particular group of workers. We use a recent large-scale survey to investigate the relative importance of jobs versus amenities for the decision to migrate, as perceived by the migrants themselves. The paper thereby adds important insights to the existing literature that has hitherto mainly focused on analysing the extent to which aggregate migration flows correlate with employment-related or amenity-related factors. The results show that jobs are considerably more important for the decision to move among highly educated migrants compared with migrants with lower education.

  • D L Prytherch `Vertebrating' the region as networked space of flows: learning from the spatial grammar of Catalanist territoriality' Environment and Planning A 2010, volume 42, pages 1537 - 1554
For decades theoretical debates about political restructuring have resorted to and co-constructed geographical concepts of territory and scale, interpreting `new' and `Euro' regionalisms as processes of reterritorialization and rescaling (and the politics thereof ). But nested and hierarchical theories of scale have been severely critiqued, and bounded notions of territory opened to question. How then to develop a more relational understanding of the region without trading one limiting theoretical master narrative for another? Drawing inspiration from recent attempts to do just this, in this paper I ask: what can we learn about the complex and relational spatiality of the region, and thus scale and territory, through the spatial vocabularies of regionalists themselves? Using the case study of the Northwestern Mediterranean, I explore the imaginaries and stratagems of Catalan regionalism and transboundary macroregionalism, particularly in the neighboring regions of Catalunya and the Comunitat Valenciana and their proposed integration in a Euroregion called the Arc Mediterrani. While Catalanists increasingly emphasize networked economic relationships and flows, they do so within a structured, territorial, and in many ways bounded understanding of Mediterranean spatial relations. How Catalanists vertebrar territori (articulate or structurate territory, in Catalan) offers an alternative spatial grammar for thinking about how various spatialitiesöincluding network and geographical scaleöare distinct yet co-implicated in the social production of regional and macroregional territory.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Connectivity: internet flows, airline flows and our internet usage

Ethan Zuckerman on TED this year has some really interesting observations on social networks. His focus was primarily on how we create with filter bubbles. We stay within our own interest boundaries. Maybe the old economy and the new economy have something in common - it hard tomove outside your milieu. Actually Zuckerman suggests its easier to get stuff across the globe than move outside your digital bubble. He has some great diagrams of the lack of international news carried by US media. He highlights wiki entries geo-coded which shows that they mostly relate to the USA, Europe, Brazil and Australia.

Ethan says we focus on the infrastructure of globalisation - he uses the example of airline routes rather than the content of the wiring - the number planes or passengers moving between places.

On a related subject, recently, I came across the work of Chris Harrison. His images reveal the city to city connectivity of global society. Unsurprisingly, there is huge activity within the USA and then between the USA and Western Europe. Take the time to look at his images.

Essentially, connectivity maps are the same if we talk of flights or bits and bytes.

Zuckerman could be onto something. Perhaps there is a growing difference in our trade behaviour and our person to person connections.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chis Freeman

I have heard on the grapevine that Professor Chris Freeman who headed SPRU for many years and with the late Keith Pavitt establish Research Policy died on the weekend. His wiki page has the same information.

The work of Chris Freeman is rightly held in high respect. In recent years I have been tracking down early work of the OECD on science and innovation. Chris' writings of the 1960s still read well today. More insightful and clearer than much of what the journals currently publish on the subject.

For those with an interest in science policy and consequential indicators, his work on 'the problems of science policy' (1968) is an informative read and one that reveals that for the last 40 years we haven't gone much beyond filling in his agenda.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Architecture #4: Delight, Beauty and Happiness

You are probably wondering how it is possible that an innovation system could be analysed on its properties for aiding delight, beauty or maybe a more popular word of late - happiness. I had (until recently) been pondering the same thing for over a decade. Some ideas appear to offer intriquing possibilities without any possibility of resolution. So it was with this one. More than a decade ago I regularly had coffee with an architect friend in Canberra who first introduced me to the eloquent summary of architecture as firmness, fitness and delight. At the time I was searching for a language that invoked a 3Dness to the structural studies of economies and 'architecture' seemed like a useful word. At the time I couldn't envisage anything more that just 'form' in various guises.

However, curiously, as I have been reading Alain de Botton's book on architecture, this third piece of puzzle has begun to clarify itself for me. On page 71 (of my version) he states:

... However, there might be a way to surmount  this state of sterile relativism with the help of John Ruskin's provocative remark about the eloquence of architecture. The remark focuses our minds on the idea that buildings are not visual objects without any connection to connects which we can analyse and then evaluate.Buildings speak - and on topics which can be readily discerned. They speak of democracy or aristocracy, openness or arrogance, welcome or threat, a sympathy for the future or a hankering for the past.

SO of  what do innovation systems speak?
Do they speak of openness and inclusion or merely the trendy and wealthy?

Do they speak of just economies or societies and communities?

#1. Of what do innovations systems speak
       - democracry - maybe, economies - definitely, but societies and communities - I'm less certain.

Today 'innovation' is invoked as the panacea for the ills of our economies but not of our societies.

Should we start asking questions about who innovation is for etc. This has been the realm of science and technology studies but I am beginning to think that we need to urgently dialogue this in Schumpeterian side of the literature as well. Is creativity just for new products and services? What of the poor and disadvantaged even in advanced economies - those that don't go to schools with all the latest technology etc? What of innovations and their effects on the disabled communities. Some innovations improve their lives and others make it harder.

Are schools just to produce clones of a previous era or can we envisage something more?

#2 What of happiness.

In recent years there has been a flood of literature.

One observation (stated in Graham 2005 in World Economics p45)
Easterlin, in his original study, revealed a paradox that sparked interest in the topic but is, as of yet, unresolved. While most happiness studies find that within countries wealthier people are, on average, happier than poor ones, studies across countries and over time find very little, if any, relationship between increases in per capita income and average happiness levels. On average, wealthier countries (as a group) are happier than poor ones (as a group); happiness seems to rise with income up to a point, but not beyond it. Yet even among the less happy, poorer countries, there is not a clear relationship between average income and average happiness levels, suggesting that many other factors—including cultural traits—are at play.

Other factors that are important are: social connections, social services such as education and health etc.

This is another TED video.

#3 - Conclusions

If we want to speak of innovation - particularly 'national innovation systems' then isn't it time that we move beyond a purely narrow economics context. All we are doing is replacing one discourse which emphasised monetary policy along with labour and natural resource exploiting development paths with a technological creation one.

The science and technology studies literature which has developed largely in parrallel with the innovation literature already emphasises culture and gender issues amongst others - isn't it time that there was greater informed cross readings.

Interestingly, there was a conference ths year that seems a step in the right direction from the perspective of innovation systems and happiness.

Innovation and Inequality: From Pharma and Beyond

Workshop in Pisa, Italy, 15-16 May 2010, Conference organisers: Mariana Mazzucato and Luigi Orsenigo

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Architecture #3: Function

As I continue my series on structure concepts, the second characteristic of architure is 'functionality'.
But what could function mean in a social setting?
Given that we are here thinking of the more limited organising princple of 'innovation systems' then the first type of function which comes easily to mind is that it is to produce innovations. Sounds simple enough and there is plenty of literature related to measuring that. However, an interesting paper by Edquist and Zabala (2009) provides some valuable insights.

Edquist, C. and Zabala, J. (2009) 'Outputs of innovation systems: a European perspective' Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE) Lund University. WP 2009/14

So we could understand the functioning of an innovation system on the basis of the success it has in producing outputs as measured against these dimensions. The paper makes an early attempt at conducting a comparison across these categories for European countries.
A paper that more directly addresses the idea of functions was published by Hekkert back in 2007. These authors compared different approaches that had been taked to the question of 'function'. They concluded with a list of seven:

  • entrepreneurial activities
  • knowledge development
  • knowledge diffusion through networks
  • guidance of the search
  • market formation
  • resources mobilization
  • creation of legitimacy/counteract resistance to change
from: Hekkert (2007) 'Functions of innovation systems: A new approach for analysing technological change' Technological Forecasting & Social Change 74 (2007) 413–432.

This list clearly represents a higher order of  'system' activity than the economic outputs measured in the Edquist paper - perhaps all of which are measures of the first function - entrepreneurial activities.

Finally, we might come up with a definition of function in terms of what occurs in a particular place. In this sense function might be narrowed to a single value structure (I avoid the word chain because as I may have already said in this blog a chain is far to linear a concept for use in today's economy). Within such a structure what role does each region play? To know this we would need to know not just what a region makes in a general sense but what it does in very particular sense.

A paper in this vein that I haven't seen referred to that much is by Feser (2003) who that the idea that occupational data can tell us much about what regions do. As Feser states 'Industry cluster analysis has long focused on value chain relationships and innovation flows to characterise groups of linked industries. A neglected dimension of interindustry linkage is the utilisation of joint labour pools' (p1953).

Feser, E. (2003) 'What Regions Do Rather than Make: A Proposed Set of Knowledge-based Occupation Clusters' Urban Studies, Vol. 40, No. 10, 1937–1958, September 2003.

One challenge is that while such macro studies are useful we still need to know what a particular innovation system makes - what is the strategy for a particular place. For example in piece of work I am just finishing with Adam Holbrook on the Vancouver economy it is again clear that while is on the semi-periphery, Vancouver's cost structures are too high for manufacturing but seeming the geographic dynamics place it too far away for large corporations to really develop a base. The strategic response is for the clusters to consist of small and very small businesses which engage in rent seeking IP selling behaviours.

Perhaps what would be really uiseful at this stage is for an organisation like the OECD to establish an innovation studies wiki. Authors could up load citations to their work and a few findings with a suitably structured matrix. Each region specific case study could then be geocoded on a map. If for no other reason such a tool would be valuable to understand which places are heavily studied and which places are understudied.

Back to the blog

After a few months away from the blog I am hoping to get right back into it.

I have been travelling and also working on some papers particularly to do with innovation system in Vancouver Canada, the relationship between a product's modularity and the international trade configurations as well as papers on networks and the need for innovation policy that cuts across the entire economy.

Anyway hope you enjoy the blog.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Architecture #2: Form

We can most easily understand 'form' as the 'structure' of innovation systems.

Probably most innovation studies fall into other categories such how they work, why they work or even do they work which aren't really related to their architecture, but there is still a wealth of knowledge of the structure of innnovation systems.

Problematically, as Machlup noted 50 years ago the word 'structure' is often just a jargon word that obscures meanings as much they enlighten. It appears to me that we can create a taxa of at least three classes of 'structure'. The first world be shift/share analysis which look at the changing composition of industry or innovation patterns. A second class would be 'specialisation' which we would typcally see in analysis of national industry or export patterns. The third and final group of studies would be those that are focussed upon the relationships between actors in the innovation system.

Shift Share.
I am not aware of any particular pieces of work that have linked shift share analysis, which is typically associated with the changes in the sectoral breakdown of GDP over time, and the innovativeness of economies.

Often specialisation has been used as a term related to relative geographic concentrations.

Great work on this topic has been done on innovation and specialisation by people like: Keld Laursen.
(2000), Trade Specialisation, Technology and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence from Advanced Countries, Cheltenham, UK and Lyme, US: Edward Elgar, ISBN 1 84064 385 4.

That book deals with export specialisations, many other have considered technological specialisation.

Recent work has begun to create a clearer distinction between specialisations and concentrations of activitiy. See for example: Cutrini(2010) 'Specialization and Concentration from a Twofold Geographical Perspective: Evidence from Europe', Regional Studies, 44: 3, 315 — 336.


However, most of the innovation studies interested in structure have focussed most on relationships. Different kinds of relationships have been described in the literature on Innovation.

Some examples include:

Redrawn from. Geroski, P. (1994) Market Structure, Corporate Performance and Innovative Activity. New York: Claredon Press – Oxford
In this diagram we can see a complex system of innovation interdependencies. A couple of primary ‘sectors’ – mechanical engineering and chemicals are key developers of innovations that flow onto a number of other sectors. Some sectors such as electronics and instruments are intermediate players, both benefiting from innovations generated elsewhere but also providing innovations to others. Finally, there are a range of largely ‘recipient’ complex integrating sectors such as auto, aerospace, paper, food and construction etc which are typically end points for a wide range of technological inputs.

Another presentation.

Redrawn from:
Silvani, A., F. Cancemi, C. DeBresson and X. Hu (1996) ‘Innovative self-sufficency or regional interdependence: Lombardy and the Rest of Italy’ in DeBresson, C. (ed) (1996) Economic Interdependence and Innovative Activity. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.

Other surveys of the producers and users of innovations have revealed similar patterns. Silvani et al. (1996), for example, have shown quite a similar pattern exists for the innovation interdependencies within just a single Italian region (Lombardy). Figure 2 reveals not only the innovation flows but also key flows of goods (combining an innovation producer-user matrix with standard input-output matrix data. Again, auto, paper, and textiles are recipient sectors, while machinery and chemicals are important innovation generating sectors. In this region the wood and rubber sector has important innovation interdependencies with the chemicals and machinery sectors.

Finally, the analysis of Cesaratto et al. (1996), based on similar data to Silvani et al., is quite interesting. These authors categorise industries into a quite a different format than has typically been developed, although principally reinforcing the emergent understanding of the technological division of labour and the interdependencies. Their taxonomy groups industries into design based capital goods, investment based intermediate goods innovators, complex innovators, marketing oriented innovators, cost oriented consumer goods innovators, construction, services and consumption.

Cesaratto, S., S. Mangano, and S. Massini (1996) ‘New Dimensions on Division of Labor: The ase of Italy (1981-85)’ in DeBresson, C. (ed) (1996) Economic Interdependence and Innovative Activity. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

In my own work I kept the interactions down to a single industry but looked at the relationships across borders.
So in the diagram above I show that I-O interactions within Europe for the transport industries favour Germany (the arrows are backwards flows of finances) goods flows in opposite direction.

Thus innovation studies have contributed significantly to our understanding of the relationships within the economy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paul Romer on Cities

It seems that in recent years that Paul Romer famous for his work on endogenous growth theory has been turning his atention to cities. In particular he has been thinking about what he calls 'charter cities' by which he means cities that established within the borders of a developing country but ruled by a different country with different institutional rules to those of the local economy.

Does this sound familiar - it should, as it is an outline of the history of Hong Kong turned into an academic theory.

You can view him at TED.

You can also listen to him in an interview with te CBC.

More resources here:

This idea raises very interesting question regarding city development and whether there are bigger issues of whether theae can be created just about anywhere or hether there are some macro-geography issues involved as well. After all for awhile at least the most famous examples of Hong Kong and Singpore acted as entrepots for hinterlands. Is this a necessary condition? And it is possible to get them wrong, as exemplified by Macau.

Getting the rules right might not be the only thing to get right.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The future of industrial cities

There has been some recent commentary on the alleged antics of Richard Florida and his associated consulting activities.

At the bottom of the National Post piece it states:

His next book, which is titled The Great Reset and is due to be published in April, will reportedly expand on these recent ideas. He can expect to face more accusations that his message is elitist in that it suggests professionals and creative workers can stay put in their urban enclaves while disenfranchised blue-collar workers must gather their belongings and vacate suburbia and exurbia.

As one commentator, Josh Leon, a regular contributor to urban affairs magazine Next American City, wrote, “I doubt sincerely that [Jane] Jacobs would be fine with the mass abandonment of communities whose specialized services don’t satiate global markets, which these days happen to have the attention span of an ADHD toddler. Unstable economies, after all, don’t make for stable communities.”

This is a pretty interesting criticism given that rural workers and rural towns have already been through this process. My comment is what else is new? Decline and growth happens due to a myriad of both macro and micro processes - some can be managed some can't. There is only so much current policy and investment approaches can do to make a city more inviting and livable. It can't for example create a mountain range or an ocean shoreline (speaking as a west coaster). I am not a huge fan of Florida but he obviously has some quite sensible things to say. For me the criticism in this piece rings a bit shallow over what Florida could be criticised for. 

What does all this begin to foreshadow? If cities are the real geography of the world economy of the coming century then city governments need to do some pretty hard thinking. Policy is pretty meaningless without muscle and muscle (programs) only happens with money.

So discussions around cities and money are only going to get more intense. If central governments don't come to agreements of redistribution then we are likely to see the Balkanisation of modern nation states through the collection of city taxes .

The implications of current contradictions of multi-level policy making are not really being analysed by the same tools that we analyse the geo-politics of nation-states. Throw in climate change, petrol prices and life could get interesting but I don't think we heading for total city states systems aka Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

Friday, January 29, 2010

An Architecture of Economies and Innovation Systems

Implicit in my purpose for this blog is to enter into a discussion that attempts to disentangle ideas of  geographic, economic and innovation structure. Although we might joking suggest, to paraphrase Derrida that structuralism is dead, it lives on still and should. Today I start a four part series on a relatively new comer to the lexicon of economic 'structure' words; 'architecture'.

The first use of it that I became aware of was in connection to the asia financial crisis and the perceived need to revisit the global financial system architecture. Since then it has been used by others, notably Michael Jacobides et al. (Industry Architectures) and I have even used it in my book Innovation System frontiers (Chapter 10).

Is architecture just another word for structure in English which is surprising devoid of useful terms, or can the word be used with deeper meaning.

as it is currently used.
Industry architectures
Benefiting from innovation: Value creation, value appropriation and the role of industry architectures
Michael G. Jacobides, Thorbjørn Knudsen, Mie Augier. Research Policy 35 (2006) 1200–1221.

p1201. Our first contribution is to extend the Teecian purview (which focuses on the potential dyadic relationships between innovators and outside asset holders) by considering industry architectures, i.e. templates that emerge in a sector and circumscribe the division of labor among a set of co-specialized firms. We explain why these architectures emerge, usually early on in an industry’s life, as a result of balancing advantages from division of labor with transaction costs relating to the certification of quality of the final good or service. We further explain why these architectures sometimes become stable, thus creating the contours of an industry.We then argue that firms may be able to affect the architecture of their sectors, especially when it is not sharply defined, and as such create an “architectural advantage”.

p1202. Yet most economic organizations, including firms and markets, exhibit a considerably more complex structure of cospecialized agents and assets. We shall refer to such a structure of co-specialized agents and assets as architecture, and suggest that industry architectures are the common frameworks determining the nested structures of industry organization. An industry architecture, we argue, is a sector-wide construct that defines the terms of the division of labor.
Architecture of economies. I will confess that I wanted to use the term in my book and did so in probably a rather shallow way given that my diagrams of industry connectedness are little more than the wiring diagrams of the global economy or at best the floor plans. The diagrams do not provide an idea of the overall form of economies. However, in admitting this I also want to say that I do have in mind a broader image of architecture, even if it was not articulated there.

So what is architecture?

Obviously to start with it is primarily used to define the human built environment. One of the earliest writers on architecture, Vitruvius, a Roman writer and 'engineer' of the 1st century BCE  spoke of firmness, utility, and beauty, latter translated by Wotton as "Commoditie, Firmeness, and Delight'.

... today we might summarise these as form, function and beauty (or perhaps happiness after De Botton).
For an interesting read see:  David Cast (1993) Speaking of Architecture: The Evolution of a Vocabulary in Vasari, Jones, and Sir John Vanbrugh. The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1993), pp.179-188 Stable URL:

Can we imagine describing economic or innovation systems in terms of their form, function and delight, we shall see?

New OECD Reports

Just before Christmas the OECD released a number of important reports.

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2009

At a time when world economy is in the midst of the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression, the Scoreboard provides the statistical information necessary to define a response to these global challenges. This edition of the Scoreboard illustrates and analyses a wide set of indicators of science, technology, globalisation and industrial performance in OECD and major non OECD countries (notably Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa). Indicators are organized around five issues: responding to the economic crisis, targeting new growth areas, competing in the world economy, connecting to global research, and investing in the knowledge economy.


This book has a bit of a new look and some interesting new analyses. Readers may be drawn to the opening chapter on the economic crisis and the section on emerging research fields.

OECD: Regions Matter: Economic Recovery, Innovation and Sustainable Growth

Why do some regions grow faster than others, and in ways that do not always conform to economic theory? This is a central issue in today’s economic climate, when policy makers are looking for ways to stimulate new and sustainable growth.OECD work suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to regional growth policy. Rather, regions grow in very varied ways and the simple concentration of resources in a place is not sufficient for long-term growth. This report draws on OECD analysis of regional data (including where growth happens, country-by-country), policy reviews and case studies. It argues that it is how investments are made, regional assets used and synergies exploited that can make the difference. Public investment should prioritize longer-term impacts on productivity growth and combine measures in an integrated way. This suggests an important role for regional policies in shaping growth and economic recovery policies, but also challenges policy makers to implement policy reforms.

This is a really important report and I haven't read it closely enough yet to comment, however, some key messages include.
  • Across all OECD countries, regions vary greatly in per capita income levels and growthrates; there are few signs that they are becoming more similar.
  • Urban areas tend to have higher income levels than rural regions, but not necessarily higher growth rates; there is no consistent relationship between urban concentration and economic performance.
 The report contains a range of easily accessible statistics and innovative graphics (3D maps).

OECD: Innovation and Growth: Chasing a Moving Frontier

Innovation is crucial to long-term economic growth, even more so in the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis. In this volume, the OECD and the World Bank jointly take stock of how globalization is posing new challenges for innovation and growth in both developed and developing countries, and how countries are coping with them. The authors discuss options for policy initiatives that can foster technological innovation in the pursuit of faster and sustainable growth. The various chapters highlight how the emergence of an integrated global market affects the impact of national innovation policy. What seemed like effective innovation strategies (e.g. policies designed to strengthen the R&D capacity of domestic firms) are no longer sufficient for effective catch-up. The more open and global nature of innovation makes innovation policies more difficult to design and implement at the national scale alone. These challenges are further complicated by new phenomena, such as global value chains and the fragmentation of production, the growing role of global corporations, and the ICT revolution. Where and why a global corporation chooses to anchor its production affects the playing field for OECD and developing economies alike.

Some interesting material, but this book is a collection of papers from a conference the OECD and World Bank ran.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

NSF Science and Engineering Indicators 2010 released

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has just released its latest Indicators report.

Webpage for downloads.

Webcast (interesting but less than dynamic)

Friday, January 15, 2010


There are three conferences with the deadlines rapidly apporaching.

DRUID 2010
The deadline for papers is usually around the 28 of Feb.

DRUID and Imperial College London Business School have agreed to co-organize the DRUID Summer Conference in London on June 16-18, 2010.

"This is the very first time a DRUID flagship event is held outside Denmark and we are very excited about the new promising possibilities this opens for our research community" declares DRUID Director, Professor Peter Maskell, Copenhagen Business School.

Dr Ammon Salter, co-Director of the Innovation Studies Centre, Imperial College London states: "DRUID has become one of the world's leading intellectual forums for discussions about technology, innovation and strategy. We are delighted to welcome DRUID to Imperial, bringing this forum into the heart of London."

The 13th Conference of the International Schumpeter Society takes place at Aalborg University in Denmark on 21-24 June 2010.

Schumpeter 2010 serves as an opportunity for both established scholars and young researchers to present research that has a Schumpeterian perspective. The major topic of the conference is "Innovation, Organisation, Sustainability and Crises". But the conference more generally embraces micro-studies of the innovation, routine and selection as well as studies of the macro-problems of Schumpeterian growth and development as a process of "creative destruction". The broad range of issues implies that both economists, business economists, and other social scientists can contribute to the conference and that evidence may be provided by statistical and historical methods as well as other methods.

The EU funded world input output database is also I believe holding a conference in late May which will apparently have some session open for external submissions.
Watch the WIOD website for details.