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The Handbook of Global Science, Technology, and Innovation by Andrea Filippetti, Daniele Archibugi

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Chapter 1The Convergence Paradox: The Global Evolution of National Innovation Systems

Fulvio Castellacci and Jose Miguel Natera

Introduction

The investigation of the reasons behind cross-country differences in the creation and international diffusion of advanced knowledge constitutes, in a nutshell, the main interest of the national innovation systems (NIS) approach (Lundvall 1992; Nelson 1993; Edquist 1997). Studies in this tradition have become increasingly popular in the last two decades, and have greatly enriched our understanding of the functioning and evolution of nations’ capabilities and competencies. In addition to the great variety of theoretical insights that the systemic perspective has made it possible to achieve, several empirically oriented studies have also tried to operationalize the approach by measuring different aspects of the process of knowledge creation and dissemination in a large sample of countries, and by investigating the extent of cross-country differences (Archibugi and Coco 2004).

Several empirical studies in this tradition are rooted in the traditional literature on technology and convergence (Abramovitz 1986; Verspagen 1991; Fagerberg 1994). Following a technology-gap Schumpeterian approach, applied econometric studies have focused on a few key variables that explain cross-country differences in the innovation ability of countries as well as their different capabilities to imitate foreign advanced knowledge, and analyzed the empirical relationship between ...

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