Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University
The Innovation Union Scoreboard is Flawed: The case of Sweden – not being the innovation leader of the EU
() and Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia
Abstract: According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard, published by
the European Commission every year, Sweden has been, and still is, an
innovation leader within the EU and one of the most innovative countries in
Europe. In the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014 (European Union, 2014: 5),
Sweden has the top position (ranked number 1) of all EU28 Member States in
what is called “EU Member States’ Innovation Performance”. In the ranking
there are 10 countries between Sweden and the EU average. This analysis is
based on the ranking provided by one single composite indicator (SII or
Summary Innovation Index), based on 25 separate indicators.
paper we argue that the SII provided by the Innovation Union Scoreboard is
highly misleading. The data (the 25 separate indicators) that constitute
this composite innovation indicator need to be analyzed much more in depth
in order to reach a correct measure of the performance of an innovation
system. We argue that input and output indicators need to be considered
separately and measured individually and as two groups of indicators.
Thereafter we compare the input and output indicators with one another (as
is normally done in productivity and efficiency measurements). The outcome
of this is a relevant and better measure of innovation performance.
this paper, the performance of the Swedish national innovation system is
analyzed by using exactly the same data as is used by the Innovation Union
Scoreboard 2014. We analyze the relative position of Sweden regarding both
input and output indicators, concluding that Sweden’s position as an
innovation leader within the EU must be reconsidered. A theoretical
background and reasons for selecting the indicators used is given and a new
position regarding Sweden’s innovation performance compared to the other
countries is calculated.
Our findings show, that Sweden remains in a
high position for the innovation input indicators, ranked number 1.
However, with regard to innovation output, Sweden is ranked number 10. In
other words, about a third of all European Union 28 Member States have a
higher innovation output than Sweden. To estimate the efficiency or
productivity of the Swedish innovation system, inputs and outputs must be
related to each other. When doing so, we reach the conclusion that Sweden
is ranked number 24 of EU28 Member States. This finding is then discussed
and we also discuss which countries would be relevant for Sweden to compare
(benchmark) its innovation system with.
The conclusion is that Sweden,
based on our calculations, can certainly not be seen as an innovation
leader in Europe. This means that the Innovation Union Scoreboard is flawed
and may therefore mislead researchers, policy-makers, politicians as well
as the general public – since it is widely reported in the media.
Keywords: Innovation system; innovation policy; innovation performance; Sweden; indicators; input; output; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: O30; O38; O49; O52; (follow links to similar papers)
54 pages, April 29, 2015
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