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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: September 2009

9 - National institutional frameworks, institutional complementarities and sectoral systems of innovation



Long ago it was recognized that, in economic life, “institutions matter.” Very influential schools of thought have been based entirely on this fundamental assumption. This is the case for the so-called “old institutionalism” promoted by Commons, Veblen and Mitchell, and this is the case too for the “new institutional economics” (NIE) school, associated with the names of Coase, Williamson and North. More recently Aoki, by defining a “comparative institutional analysis” research program, has explicitly put his name on the list. It is also the case that the French regulation approach (a research program defined in the mid-1970s) is based entirely on the idea that certain basic “structural” or “institutional” forms are the key elements underlying the dynamics of capitalist economies. In the same spirit the “varieties of capitalism” literature (see, for example, Hall and Soskice, 2001) has underscored the similarities and differences between economic and political institutions among countries, and their effects on economic behavior and performances.

In the more specific domain of the economics of innovation, the intuitions of the pioneering work by Freeman (1987) as regards the role of institutions has been completed and enlarged by Lundvall (1992), Nelson (1993) and, more recently, by Amable, Barré and Boyer (1997). All these national system of innovation or sectoral system of innovation approaches have brought the role played by institutions in the dynamics of innovation to the forefront.

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Sectoral Systems of Innovation
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