Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2008/2: The Development of a New Swedish Innovation Policy A Historical Institutional Approach

Bo Persson ()
Additional contact information
Bo Persson: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: PO Box 117, Sölvegatan 16, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: It is often claimed that what traditionally have been called technology policies in many industrialised countries have undergone major changes during the last decades. Until the 1980s technology policies were primarily focused on financial support to different R&D producing organisations. The focus from the 1990s and forward has to a larger extent been on enhancing the environment for innovation and technology transfer. The rationale behind these innovation policies, as the “new” policies are often called, seems also to have been strongly influenced by a “new innovation paradigm”. Even though innovation policies in different countries seem to have developed in similar directions, and been inspired by similar ideas, the actual choices of polices in different countries, varies a lot. As shown by a large number of studies in comparative public policy, similar policy ideas can be handled or “translated” in very different ways due to different national policy styles, institutions, cultures, etc. In this text, I elaborate on these issues in an analysis of the development of a “new” innovation policy in Sweden, in many ways inspired by the new innovation paradigm, primarily during the last decade. I show how the new Swedish policy is strongly connected not only to the legacies of policy development, but also to the character of political strategies and the structure of the state bureaucracy.

Keywords: innovation policy; public policy; institutional theory.

JEL-codes: O30; O38

48 pages, June 1, 2008

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