The Economics of Knowledge and Learning

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Title: The Economics of Knowledge and Learning
Author: Lundvall, Bengt-Åke
Abstract: The focus in this book is on product innovation, learning and economic performance. A central theme is the understanding of learning and knowledge in connection with processes of technical and organisational change. In this chapter we present a conceptual framework to analyse knowledge and learning from an economic perspective. The starting point is the assumption that we are in a knowledge-based economy and we end by proposing that it is more adequate to characterize the current era as ‘a learning economy’. Crucial questions to be analysed here have to do with distinctions private/public, local/global and tacit/codified knowledge. While appearing as somewhat ‘academic’ at first sight they have important implications both for innovation policy and for the management of innovation and knowledge at the level of the firm. It has become commonplace among policy-makers to refer to the current period as characterised by a knowledge based economy and increasingly it is emphasised that the most promising strategy for economic growth is one aiming at strengthening the knowledge base of the economy1. This discourse raises a number of unresolved analytical issues. What constitutes the knowledge base? At what level can we locate and define a knowledge base? What are the specificities of local and sector specific knowledge bases? How stable is the knowledge base? In order to approach an answer to these questions three different themes are introduced: first, basic concepts related to knowledge and learning; second, the contribution of economic analysis to the understanding of the production, mediation and use of knowledge; and third, new economic trends and the formation of a “learning economy.”
Description: Proceedings of the the First Globelics Academy, Ph.D. School on National Systems of Innovation and Economic Development, Lisbon, Portugal 25 May - 4 June 2004.
Type: Proceedings
Book chapter
Citation: Bengt-Åke Lundvall (2004), The economics of knowledge and learning, in Jesper L. Christensen and Bengt-Ake Lundvall (ed.) Product Inovation, Interactive Learning and Economic Performance (Research on Technological Innovation, Management and Policy, Volume 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.21-42.
Date: 2004
Contributor: Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems
Aalborg universitet
Publisher: Georgia Institute of Technology
Emerald Group Publishing
Subject: Learning economy
Knowledge-based economy

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