Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Lund Papers in Economic History,
Lund University, Department of Economic History

No 167: Innovation Trends and Industrial Renewal in Finland and Sweden 1970-2013

Astrid Kander (), Josef Taalbi , Juha Oksanen , Karolin Sjöö and Nina Rilla
Additional contact information
Astrid Kander: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Josef Taalbi: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: We examine trends in innovation output for two highly ranked innovative countries: Finland and Sweden (1970-2013). Our novel dataset, collected using the LBIO (literature-based innovation output) method, suggests that the innovation trends are positive for both countries, despite an extended downturn in the 1980s. The findings cast some doubt on the proposition that the current stagnation of many developed countries is due to a lack of innovation and investment opportunities. Our data show that Finland catches up to, and passes, Sweden in innovation output in the 1990s. In per capita terms, Finland stays ahead throughout the period. We find that the strong Finnish performance is largely driven by innovation increase in just a handfull of industries. Both countries saw a rise in innovation during the dot-com era and the structural changes that followed. Since 2000 however, Sweden has outperformed Finland in terms of total innovations, especially in machinery and ICT, while the Finnish rate of innovation has stabilized. We suggest that these patterns may be explained by different paths of industrial renewal.

Keywords: innovation; literature-based innovation output; industrial renewal; structural decomposition; structural change

JEL-codes: N14; O30; O47

38 pages, December 6, 2017

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