Knowledge investments, business R&D and innovativeness of countries – A qualitative meta-analytic comparison

P.P. van Hemert, P. Nijkamp

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The relationship between knowledge investments, innovation and competitiveness is an important topic in both academic research and economic policy and has been studied extensively over the past decades. Nowadays, investments in private and public R&D are believed to make up the heart of a modern knowledge economy. The present paper adopts an evolutionary economics perspective and investigates whether, in addition to private R&D activities, also institutional support systems and policy interventions play a role in inducing innovation initiatives and creating impacts on the performance and competitiveness of industries. We aim to find support for the hypothesis that the competitiveness of industries in the international arena is sustained by the dynamic interaction between national, regional and sectoral innovation systems. This may provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the context in which they operate. Since according to the evolutionary metaphor, the growth of an innovation system follows complex dynamics that cannot simply be analysed within a static quantitative equilibrium framework, we use here an alternative approach based on qualitative pattern recognition analysis originating from artificial intelligence analysis. Besides R&D expenditures, human capital expenditures are regarded as the major input in the knowledge creation process in our analytical framework. To this end, in our paper a qualitative causal model that maps out conditional relations between key factors in national innovation systems will be described. The focus of our investigation is on systematic patterns in the competitiveness of the EU Member States, using statistical information on innovation input and output data from the European Innovation Scoreboard. In our analysis we find support for the hypothesis that there are indeed significant interactions between distinct institutional levels, which may provide guidance to the strategic orientation of nations and the European Union in terms of the emphasis on competitiveness vis-à-vis cohesion. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-384
Number of pages16
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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