Growth, employment and competitiveness in a knowledge society

April 2010

Intangible assets at the heart of economic growth in European regions

As a starting point, the IAREG European research project acknowledges that ‘the process of innovation and knowledge accumulation is at the root of uneven territorial development.’ After examining the issue at length, the consortium offers policy makers at European, national and regional levels a number of general recommendations, including these four regarding the impact of knowledge accumulation on processes of economic growth:.....more

May 2010

Ensuring a role for European firms in the globalisation of R&D activities

Multinational companies (MNCs) are using more ‘cost-effective’ locations not only for production but also to source the knowledge behind production. An EU supported-research project, INGINEUS, aims to identify how EU policy can enhance the position of European firms within the networks used by MNCs for outsourcing. Preliminary suggestions are that policy should aim to stimulate the mobility of skilled workers and develop a single European patent system.....more

June 2010

Measure this: intangible capital as a driver of innovative growth

When it comes to analysing the role of investment in intangible assets, standard growth accounting techniques reveal some very interesting results. Firstly, intangible assets play a large part in determining the path of labour productivity, which improves social welfare. Even more significant, however, is that the ‘unexplained’ components of productivity growth (usually swept together under the heading of ‘total factor productivity’) become much less important once a measure of intangibles is included, suggesting that intangibles are a significant part of the explanation. Finally, decline in investment in physical capital appears, for the most part, to have been compensated by an increase in intangible capital formation. All these factors indicate that the contribution of intangible capital accumulation to growth both in manufacturing and service industries is substantial.....more

July 2010

Quality of European Union public services and regulation

The privatisation of public services in the EU has produced varied effects, with improvements in some areas, like efficiency and productivity, but deterioration in others, such as employment conditions and, in some cases, service quality. This is the conclusion of the PIQUE project that has recommended that public services should not be left to the free play of market forces but require further regulation to ensure the quality, affordability and accessibility of services.....more

October 2010

Can EU’s knowledge economy compete on a global scale?

Increased imports need not inevitably lead to job losses in Europe despite growing competition from globalisation, according to new research. The MICRO-DYN (Micro-Dynamics) project analysed the innovativeness and competitiveness of companies, industries and regions in Europe’s knowledge-based economy, and trends in employment in this sector.....more

November 2010

Enhancing social inclusion of mental health service users

An innovative approach to social inclusion in Europe has succeeded in increasing the rate of employment among users of mental health services (patients). The researchers who developed the approach suggest it could also be used to help other disadvantaged groups. EMILIA, a European research project financed by the European Commission, showed that lifelong learning educational courses designed with input from the service users themselves can offer significant benefits for those users: it can aid their recovery, facilitate their social inclusion and promote their return to work.....more

December 2010

Stimulating economies built on creative knowledge

Promoting culture and creativity in European cities can improve quality of life, but there is no guarantee that it will make those cities more economically competitive. Instead of investing in off-the-shelf measures to stimulate urbanised creative-knowledge economies, policy makers are advised to first identify a city's unique local assets (and legacies) and then devise tailored strategies to capitalise on them.....more

January 2011

Achieving the aims of lifelong learning

The Lisbon Treaty has identified lifelong learning (LLL) as a means to increase jobs, improve social cohesion and gain economic competitiveness. However, the concept has a range of meanings and engagement in LLL varies substantially across countries. The LLL2010 project has explored these differences and the policies that support adult education, in particular in a formal setting. As part of the research on small and medium-size enterprises, a new typology of adult participation in LLL has been developed.....more

February 2011

Do financial markets reward innovation?

Financial markets are driven by the ‘real’ economy, and in turn can have profound effects on it through impacts on the process of innovation and the way firms in different sectors exploit innovations. Findings on comparative industrial development from the FINNOV (Finance, Innovation and Growth) project strongly suggest that the governance and organisation of business enterprises varies significantly across different EU Member States, and at times even within the geographical borders of these nations.....more

March 2011

Getting a grip on intangibles

One of the main goals of the EU's 2020 Strategy is to achieve ‘smart’ growth, generally understood to mean through innovation. But what exactly constitutes innovation in a contemporary economic sense? How do you measure it? Is it possible to compare innovation levels in different countries? So far, economists have had no standard method for measuring innovation. But now a group of European researchers are providing some welcome help. The COINVEST research project has spent the past three years getting a grip on how intangible investments contribute to innovation, competitiveness, growth and productivity in Europe. The project's findings are helping to reshape our understanding of intangible assets and influencing important economic indices.....more

April 2011

New trends in the relationship between knowledge and policy

Research into the role of knowledge in health and education policy across Europe identified new trends in the intricate relationship between knowledge and policy. Highlighting that knowledge is socially embedded and constructed, the KNOWandPOL research project found three significant trends: increasingly diverse flows of knowledge, a growing emphasis on using knowledge to inform policy and a wider use of comparisons, best-practice and experience-based knowledge. These trends have a number of policy implications, for example, policy makers should not lose sight of the local context and should consider how to include local, or non-expert, knowledge when formulating policy.....more

May 2011

FINESS: In search of a sustainable European financial system

With the global financial crisis still putting pressure on European economies, high-level policy making bodies continue to grapple with demands for further regulatory reform. A number of important measures have already been implemented, but there is an ongoing debate about what action (if any) should be taken next, particularly with respect to the banking industry. Anyone participating in this debate would do well to consult the findings of FINESS, a two-year long research project that examined with a critical eye the underpinnings of the European financial system and yielded valuable insights into the nature of financial markets as well as respective policy recommendations.....more

June 2011

Enhancing public-private innovation networks in services

Innovation in services helps to improve both competitiveness and welfare in Europe, according to the transnational ServPPIN research project. While acknowledging that the heterogeneous nature of service economies presents European policy makers with some challenges, ServPPIN highlights the essential contribution that services, and public-private innovation networks in particular, are making to economic growth and social wellbeing throughout the European Union.....more

July 2011

Venture capital for innovation: Creating a more effective policy environment

In the context of its 2020 policy agenda, the European Union is consciously striving to create a higher number of sustainable innovative business enterprises in Europe. Achieving this goal, however, depends in part on the EU’s ability to assure that innovative firms have access to suitable sources of financing, including venture capital (VC). Mindful of that, the EU’s 2020 strategy includes an Innovation Union initiative that foresees a number of measures including development of a cross-border venture capital regime and improved cross-border matching of innovative firms with investors.....more

September 2011

Internationalisation increases exports and improves firms’ flexibility

Why have some European firms weathered the financial crisis better than others? How can policy makers help European companies become more competitive internationally? These are among the compelling questions explored by the EFIGE research project. For example, EFIGE’s analysis of post-crisis data from several thousand firms in seven EU Member States suggests that “protectionist instincts during the crisis may have been misguided”. The researchers encourage policy makers to bear in mind that domestic companies producing abroad may have an easier time tapping those markets. In turn, this can strengthen a company’s international competitiveness and positively affect domestic employment.....more

October 2011

Enabling young people to succeed in European labour markets

When laying out its Europe 2020 objectives, the EU set itself the target of increasing the Union’s employment rate to 75%1 for all people between 20 and 64 within a decade. Given the high level of youth unemployment in some EU Member States (e.g. Spain), it is clear that the 2020 target can only be achieved if young people are integrated into the labour market more fully. Findings from the WORKABLE project suggest how to tackle this particular challenge.....more

February 2012

How social entrepreneurs can enhance service innovation in Europe

The SELUSI research project has been working to find out whether the special abilities of social entrepreneurs might be utilised by more traditional companies to promote their own innovation-led growth. The project suggests that the intelligence of social entrepreneurs can be leveraged to enhance innovative processes in corporate contexts outside the realm of the purely social enterprise.......more

March 2012

Macroeconomic models: A comparative tool for policy making

Modelling techniques are crucial for economic forecasting and, by extension, for the planning of macroeconomic policy. Unfortunately, economists have not come up with any single model that works optimally in all situations. With numerous competing models to choose from, policy makers face a daunting task deciding which ones to utilise in addressing specific economic challenges. Their job could be made easier if they were given the ability to plug planning variables into lots of different models, providing a more complete picture of possible outcomes. Thanks to the MONFISPOL research project, macroeconomic policy makers now have this comparative option at their disposal.......more

April 2012

Looking beyond the crisis: An appeal for economic cooperation

As Europe continues to battle with the impact of the global financial crisis, policy makers are hard-pressed to respond in a way that will put the economy on a more secure footing in the future. The POLHIA research project is supporting this effort with in-depth analysis of the financial crisis and concrete recommendations for European policy makers. While parts of the research are quite technical, the project has succeeded in producing a series of documents that are accessible to the non-specialist and provide fascinating insights into the roots of the crisis. Moreover, the researchers have proposed a series of policy measures which they feel could be instrumental in preventing a similar crisis in the long run.......more

May 2012

Putting knowledge to work: The innovation challenge

How should Europe go about managing the transition to a knowledge-based economy? What challenges are associated with this task in the context of EU enlargement and economic globalisation? What will the creation of a knowledge-based economy mean for the EU’s Member States, its companies and its citizens? These were among the key questions explored by the DIME network of excellence, comprising 53 partner institutions in 21 countries. Covering a broad range of public policy issues, the network was particularly strong in the field of innovation, one of several policy areas in which DIME produced concrete policy recommendations.......more

June 2012

Taking entrepreneurship to the next level

Achieving smart, sustainable, inclusive growth – the main priorities of Europe’s 2020 strategy – requires innovative forms of entrepreneurship. One form expected to play an important role in Europe’s economic development is knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship (KIE). Findings from the AEGIS research project suggest KIE should be regarded as one potential means to obtain economic growth and societal well-being.......more

September 2012

Insights into the knowledge economy

How is knowledge created in a globalised world, and how do firms use this knowledge to produce and market products? These two fundamental questions were at the centre of the SCIFI-GLOW research project, exploring links between knowledge sector organisation and the behaviour of markets and firms. SCIFI-GLOW yielded robust policy-relevant findings that could help guide further development of the knowledge economy.......more