Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2015/27: The Innovation Union Scoreboard is flawed: The Case of Sweden – not the innovation leader of the EU – updated version

Charles Edquist () and Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia ()
Additional contact information
Charles Edquist: CIRCLE, Lund University
Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia: Deusto Business School, Deusto University

Abstract: According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard published by the European Commission, Sweden has been, and still is, an innovation leader within the EU and one of the most innovative countries in Europe. In this paper, the performance of the Swedish national innovation system is analyzed using exactly the same data as those employed by the Innovation Union Scoreboard for the years 2014 and 2015. We argue that the Summary Innovation Index provided by the Innovation Union Scoreboard is highly misleading. Instead of merely calculating this Summary Innovation Index, the individual indicators that constitute this composite innovation indicator need to be analyzed in much greater depth in order to reach a correct measure of the performance of innovation systems. We argue that input and output indicators need to be considered as two separate types of indicators and each type should then be measured individually. Thereafter the input and output indicators should be compared to one another, as is normally done in productivity and efficiency measurements. To check whether our approach provides results similar to those of the Innovation Union Scoreboard (or not), we apply it and analyze the relative position of Sweden - appointed the innovation leader of the EU, by the EU. A theoretical background and reasons for selecting the indicators used are also given and a new position regarding Sweden’s innovation performance compared to the other EU countries is calculated. Our conclusion is that Sweden cannot be seen as an innovation leader in the EU. This means in turn 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

JEL-codes: O30; O38; O49; O52

54 pages, August 11, 2015

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