The prevalence of publicly stimulated innovations – A comparison of Finland and Sweden, 1970–2013

Sara Torregrosa-Hetland, Antti Pelkonen, Juha Oksanen, Astrid Kander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the role played by the state in stimulating innovation in the private sector has been a prevalent interest in innovation research, studies analysing the impacts of public interventions have usually focused on individual policies, programs or projects. Public stimulation is hence often studied from a relatively restricted and temporarily confined perspective, leaving a macro-level and longer-term perspective unrecognized. This article provides further evidence on the matter by examining how many innovations in Finland and Sweden have been publicly stimulated through funding or research collaboration, over a period of more than four decades (1970–2013). Our main source is a new innovation database constructed following the Literature Based Innovation Output (LBIO) method, which gathers the most significant innovations of both countries for the study period, totalling approximately 4100 Swedish and 2600 Finnish innovations. Our results indicate that the public sector has played a very prominent role in stimulating private innovation in both countries, and with an increasing trend. This is especially true for Finland, where 35–55% of the innovations of the period have been stimulated by public funding and 25–65% by collaboration with public research. In Sweden, the share of publicly stimulated innovations has been somewhat lower and erratic, but has increased over time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Policy
Early online date2019 Feb 19
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History

Free keywords

  • Public policy
  • Innovation
  • Innovation policy
  • Literature based innovation output (LBIO) method


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