What Does Politics Have to Do with IT? Economic Distribution and Innovation Policy in OECD Countries

Despite the fact that the distributional impact of innovation has been recognized in the social science literature, to date virtually no work has been done on the politics of distribution of innovation policy. This study is the first to examine innovation policy in developed countries from the distributional perspective. In addition, it asks whether a government’s ideological identification affects innovation policy. The paper uses a mixed-methods approach, including a statistical analysis of government R&D outlays for social purposes in twenty-six countries, a content analysis of media outlets and legislative hearings in two countries, and case studies conducted in three countries (United States, Sweden, and Israel). The study’s central conclusion is that while some differences can be discerned between right and left orientations, governments on both ends of the political spectrum rarely consider innovation policy in these terms. Despite the significant distributional implications of innovation, it remains depoliticized in policy making.

Author(s): Amos Zehavi and Dan Breznitz
Organization(s): Tel Aviv University and Georgia Institute of Technology
Source: Social Science Research Network
Year: 2012

Full paper available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2132004

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