Innovation surveys and innovation policy
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In the late 1980s scholars of technological change were concerned about measuring more aspects of innovation than the mere information contained in the R&D surveys. They sat down under the auspices of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and wrote the so-called Oslo manual, which set out the guidelines for a new type of survey, the innovation survey (OECD, 1992). In the EU countries under the coordination of Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, a common core questionnaire was agreed upon and surveys were launched under the acronym of CIS (Community Innovation Surveys). These surveys have been repeated every four years. Up to now there exist four waves of CIS (CIS 1 for 1990-1992, CIS 2 for 1994-1996, CIS 3 for 1998-2000, and CIS 4 for 2002-2004). Similar surveys have been conducted in other countries, including emerging, transition and developing countries. In total, over 50 countries have carried out at least one innovation survey. The innovation surveys provide us with three broad groups of measures: innovation inputs, innovation outputs, and modalities of innovation. The innovation inputs encompass besides R&D, other expenditures related to innovation such as acquisitions of patents and licenses, product design, training of personnel, trial production, and market analysis. Four types of innovation outputs are distinguished in the latest version of CIS, namely the introduction of new products (which can be new to the firm or new to the market), the introduction of new processes, organizational changes and marketing innovations. Whereas patents and bibliometrics measure the technical, scientific, inventive side of innovation, the innovation output measures contained in the innovation surveys measure the development, the implementation, and the market introduction of new ideas, namely they measure the introduction on the market of new products or services and the introduction of new ways of organizing production and distribution. The modalities of innovation are the sources of information that lead to an innovation, the effects or innovation or the reasons for innovating, the perceived obstacles to innovation, the perceived strength of various appropriability mechanisms, and the cooperation in research and innovation. The innovation surveys serve two purposes. First and foremost, they are used by policy makers to monitor innovation and benchmark innovation performance. Their second utility is to provide statistical data to researchers in the economics of technological change in order to determine the reasons for innovating and the effects of innovation on economic performance. We shall discuss these two aspects with some illustrations of the usefulness of these data and a discussion of some of their limitations.
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