Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2015/39: Policy Learning and Smart Specialization Balancing Policy Change and Policy Stability for New Regional Industrial Path Development

Jerker Moodysson (), Michaela Trippl () and Elena Zukauskaite ()
Additional contact information
Jerker Moodysson: CIRCLE, Lund University
Michaela Trippl: CIRCLE, Lund University
Elena Zukauskaite: CIRCLE, Lund University

Abstract: This paper seeks to explain what policy approaches and policy measures are best suited for promoting economic diversification of regions and what needs and possibilities there are for such policy to change and adapt to new conditions in order to remain efficient. The paper departs from the notion of Smart Specialization, which has become a popular strategy among policy makers recently. We discuss how regional smart specialization strategies influence new regional industrial growth paths (path renewal and path creation) and how they are related to and aligned with policy strategies implemented at other territorial scales (local, regional, national, supranational). We distinguish between different levels of policy learning and types of change in relation to path renewal and new path creation. Our main argument is that new regional industrial growth paths require both stability and change within the support structure of the innovation system. Apart from being adaptive and tailor made to the specific preconditions of the regional economy, the regional system must also be resilient and predictable on certain dimensions. Unless smart specialization strategies are able to combine such adaptation and stability, they fail to promote path renewal and new path creation. Our arguments are illustrated with empirical findings from the regional innovation system of Scania, South Sweden.

Keywords: smart specialization; innovation policy; policy learning; new regional industrial path development

JEL-codes: O30; O38; R11; R58

20 pages, October 23, 2015

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