Innovation trends and industrial renewal in Finland and Sweden 1970-2013

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 sectors, but is not restricted to few companies. 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.


External organisations
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Helsinki
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • Innovation, structural decomposition, literature based innovation output, industrial renewal
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages54
JournalScandinavian Economic History Review
Early online date2018 Oct 3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 3
Publication categoryResearch

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Swedish Government Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova)


Project: ResearchInternational collaboration

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