Innovation Policy in Hard Times: Lessons from the Nordic Countries

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Abstract

The current economic crisis has so far mostly triggered short-term responses like corporate bailouts and rescue packages for ailing industries. This indicates that the crisis has been constructed as an event, a "great recession", primarily caused by governance failures in the financial sector. However, it may also be interpreted as a more fundamental crisis of the economic growth model as such, calling for a broad-ranged overhaul of policies for economic growth and employment, entailing a more pivotal role for innovation policy. This paper analyses the preconditions for such radical policy changes. The economic crisis of the Finnish and Swedish economies in the early 1990s was countered by a three-layered transformation of public policies, comprising macroeconomic stringency, renovations of social and employment policies, and massive investments in public innovation support. The institutional preconditions for such layered policy responses are discussed and some implications for contemporary crisis policy are presented.

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  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1455-1468
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Volume20
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes