chapter  12
32 Pages

How Do Economic Ideas Become Relevant in RTD Policy Making? Lessons From a European Case Study

The underlying premise of this volume is a general, almost consensual perception that RTD-policy has considerably changed in the 1990s, and taken on the shape of systemic innovation policy.1 This change is not bound to individual nation states but can be observed throughout the OECD. It is a question of increasing interest as to what have been the driving forces which cause national policies to move in the same direction. To answer this question, analysts increasingly turn towards a school of thought which takes the scientific ideas underlying the ongoing change into consideration. The premise of this cognitive line of analysis is that new scientific ideas in economics, rooted in evolutionary and institutional economics, exert their influence on policy-makers and that the ideational coalition of experts and policy-makers circumvent barriers established by interest groups and coalitions (Biegelbauer, 2000; Borras, 2000). Indeed, analysing policy concepts in various OECD countries brings to the fore a set of scientific ideas. To explain this, therefore, one must trace back the construction of policy concepts, i.e. to identify the origin and especially the venues of the scientific ideas. To lay open the impact of scientific ideas on the policy concepts and on the outcome is, no doubt, a central task of the analysis of innovation policy.