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Science and Technology for Economic Growth. New Insights from when the Data Contradicts Desktop
Models1
Adrian S. Petrescu*
*InnovationTrek

KEYWORDS
science • scientific • technology • technological • performance • inventions • innovation • patents • economic growth • developed economies • science and
technology • S&T • business • expenditures • R&D • research and development • national • transnational • innovation strategies • United States • EU • Japan •
knowledge • transfer • spillover • science and technology policy • policy evaluation

ABSTRACT
Science and technology policy initiatives in the early 1980s have focused in both the United States and Western Europe on improving capacity to apply a
good science base in practice, expecting increases in technological advancement, improved market presence and enhanced economic growth. Results varied
broadly in the United States and Europe. Even more puzzling, Japan charged ahead in technological advancement without that strong of a science base of its
own. Some industrialized economies do not conform to the expected science–technology relationship, whereby strong performance in science shall lead to
strong technological performance. The puzzling science–technology relationship in advanced countries has plausible explanations. (1) Science–technology
relationship is much interdependent or symbiotic. Its strength and primary direction at a given time varies largely by field of science or technological innovation
and across long periods of time. (2) Science–technology link in a country may depend on the overall scientific and technological level of development in that
country. The strength and interdependent nature of this link evolves historically and varies across fields of science and technology. The strength of the link is
affected by scientific and technological specialization in a country. Different technological fields have different scientific intensities, or degrees of building
upon the science base. (3) Specialization of countries across scientific and technological fields varies. Hence, the strength of science–technology link differs
between countries. High technological specialization of a country may impact its technological performance more than its immediately current scientific
performance does. History, tradition and knowledge transfers may affect more returns on R&D expenditures than the actual value of R&D funds spent in
science or technology. Explanations of puzzling behavior of science–technology link may become policy recommendations.

DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER (DOI)


10.1111/j.1541-1338.2009.00420.x About DOI

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