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Edited by Alexandra Tsvetkova, Jana Schmutzler, Marcela Suarez and Alessandra Faggian

This edited volume offers a multidisciplinary perspective on innovation challenges and innovative practices in the context of developing and transition countries. The contributions mostly embrace a national innovation system approach in an attempt to understand innovation processes and their implications at both macro and micro levels.
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Jana Schmutzler, Marcela Suarez, Alexandra Tsvetkova and Alessandra Faggian

This introductory chapter synthesizes the arguments presented by the book contributors and argues that a broad definition of innovation systems is appropriate in the context of developing and transition countries. By weaving in specific examples from the chapters, the introduction demonstrates the importance of a context-specific approach that takes into account sociocultural context, macroeconomic structures and institutions. Taken as a whole, the book shows how the system level of National Innovation Systems (NIS) influences the way firms and other actors build up competences and learn, while the outcomes of interactions among these actors at the micro level shape the NIS environment.

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Xiao-Shan Yap and Rajah Rasiah

Evolutionary economists have strived to examine mechanisms behind rapid technological catch-up of some very backward countries in East Asia, such as South Korea and Taiwan. Malaysia remains an emerging economy in Southeast Asia, one that is struggling to grow through technological upgrading. Particularly in the semiconductor industry, the country has not been able to catch up with firms at the world’s technological frontier, despite its 40 years’ experience in the electronics and electrical industry. The purpose of this chapter is to examine latecomer technological learning processes and to draw implications for catch-up strategies. The chapter focuses on four Malaysian indigenous case studies, including two Malaysian wafer fabrication firms and two Malaysian semiconductor assembly and test firms, to identify managerial and institutional strategies in the technological catch-up process. The study subsequently compares the four indigenous cases to successful cases in Taiwan to map a typology of latecomer catch-up strategies.

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Edited by Alexandra Tsvetkova, Jana Schmutzler, Marcela Suarez and Alessandra Faggian

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Cecilia Tomassini Urti

This chapter analyzes the public policy trajectory in promoting science, technology and innovation (STI) in healthcare in Brazil during the period 2002–14. Specifically, it shows how STI policies have incorporated the promotion of healthcare issues and how such incorporation could be related to inclusive development strategies. To do so, the chapter first explores relevant theoretical perspectives on the relation between STI policies and inclusive development objectives. Then, based on the analysis of the official documents and twenty semi-structured interviews with policymakers and healthcare scholars, the chapter explores public policy trajectory through the evolution of the health issues in STI priority areas and the progress of interactions among healthcare, science-technology, and the production–innovation sub-systems of the economy. Based on conceptual and empirical exploration, the chapter assesses the STI policy orientation towards inclusive development strategies and draws attention to the key role of healthcare and STI policies working together to attend to the needs of the Brazilian healthcare system.

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Nejla Yacoub

The economic literature emphasizes the importance of technological innovation as a key determinant of structural competitiveness, both for firms and countries. Building such competitiveness has long been linked to the developed world. In the last two decades, however, several developing countries have increasingly worked on setting-up innovation systems to strengthen their structural competitiveness in many sectors. This chapter explores the role of Tunisian public policies in building up the national pharmaceutical innovation system and the challenges faced by the country after the ‘Jasmine Revolution’. We try to answer two central questions: (1) have the pharmaceutical innovation policies in Tunisia been efficient before the Jasmine Revolution? (2) to what extent would the sought-after political democracy enforce a genuine innovation take-off in the Tunisian pharmaceutical sector? To answer these questions, we first evaluate innovation activities and processes in the Tunisian pharmaceutical industry before the revolution. This evaluation is based on an analysis of the national sectoral innovation system and on a survey of the Tunisian pharmaceutical firms. We then explore the public policies set up since the Jasmine Revolution and discuss their expected impact on the prospects of pharmaceutical innovation catch-up in Tunisia.

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Hernán Alejandro Morero

Successful firm-level innovation depends on the development and integration of new knowledge into the innovation processes, which usually comes from different sources. Largely, industrial and innovation economics literature studies the degree to which internal and external knowledge sources are complementary or substitutes for the innovation process. This chapter discusses the relevance of innovation complementarities for developing economies with a specific focus on policy implications. As an illustrative case, the chapter presents an application of modern complementarity tests (super and sub modularity tests) to a knowledge-intensive business services sector from an emerging economy. The chapter uses technological micro data of software firms in Argentina and considers estimation results in light of industrial policy implemented in the country.

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Tatevik Poghosyan

Innovation drives growth in both companies and national economies. At the national level, governments develop instruments and policies to foster the science, technology and innovation activities of private sector. This study explores the role of other actors, such as firms and universities, in the transition from the old (Soviet) to a new (market) innovation system. It provides a description of Armenia’s National Innovation System (NIS) and identifies differences in the transition context before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union due to historical heritage, technological specialization and innovation culture. Having been a highly industrialized economy during the Soviet era, Armenia faced challenges of societal transformation together with the need to establish a new innovation system on the ruins of the old one. This study points to the important role of “Soviet culture” and new institutional reforms in facilitating innovative capacity-building and learning that help better understand the country’s innovative performance.

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Harvey Goldstein, Verena Peer and Sabine Sedlacek