Economic growth, innovation systems, and institutional change: “A Trilogy in Five Parts”
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Development and growth are products of the interplay and interaction among heterogeneous actors operating in specific institutional settings. There is a much alluded-to, but under-investigated, link between economic growth, innovation systems, and institutions. There is widespread agreement among most economists on the positive reinforcing link between innovation and growth. However, the importance of institutions as catalysts in this link has not been adequately examined. The concept of innovation systems has the potential to fill this gap. But these studies have not conducted in-depth institutional analyses or focussed on institutional transformation processes, thereby failing to link growth theory to the substantive institutional tradition in economics. In this paper we draw attention to the main shortcomings of orthodox and heterodox growth theories, some of which have been addressed by the more descriptive literature on innovation systems. Critical overviews of the literatures on growth and innovation systems are used as a foundation to propose a new perspective on the role of institutions and a framework for conducting institutional analysis using a multi-dimensional typology of institutions. The framework is then applied to cases of Taiwan and South Korea to highlight the instrumental role played by institutions in facilitating and curtailing economic development and growth.