Sunday, August 16, 2009

Economists critique of SSTI

Some economists have been critical of the SSTI and Smart Economy policies.

Eoin O'Leary from UCC penned a critique that was published in the Times a few weeks ago - link here

The key to the point made by Dr O'Leary (illustrative quote below) is related to the general Hayekian view that bureaucracies, including scientific ones, do not have sufficient information and incentives to generate sustainable profits compared to entrepreneurs, whose livelihood depends on the outcomes of their efforts.

"Entrepreneurship has been largely written off. Yet risk-takers are always more likely than bureaucrats to make worthwhile decisions as their livelihood depends on it. Why should we doubt the creativity of the Irish, which has achieved worldwide recognition in business, sporting and artistic fields? This, allied to the resourcefulness of the many foreign nationals now making a living here, is the real key to our survival"

Others like Karl Whelan have argued that the benefits from university technology transfer may be overrated. Karl links to a very interesting presentation by Richard Lester at MIT arguing that universities should try to strengthen their role in helping local businesses adapt and use existing technologies.

link here

The paper by Lester "Universities, Innovation and the Competitiveness of Local Economies" is a very useful document. "This paper shows how universities can support local economic development through their contributions to local industrial innovation processes."

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