Political commitment behind Swedish and Finnish success

A new report from European Academies Science Advisory Board maintains that the high tech successes of Finland and Sweden are results of political commitment that startet as early as the 1960‘s. Both countries now spend more than 3 per cent of GDP on research and innovation.
The rest of Europe attempts to reach 3 per cent of GDP by 2010 which makes the two Nordic countries interesting.
-Sweden made a deliberate decision to maintain the absolute amount of public R&D expenditures while several other countries decreased theirs because of the econimic recessions in the early 1990‘s, says Lars Bager-Sjögren of the Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies to the publication Research Europe.
-A small home market requires successs in foreign markets to achieve economies of scale. So Swedish multinational companies have used R&D investments as an instrument for increasing their global competitiveness.

Erkko Autio of Helsinki University of Technology explains that Finland startet its transformation from an agricultural to an industrial economy in the 1960, when the industry depended on forestry and technology levels were low. However, by the mid-70‘s science and technology were central parts of Finnish industrial policy. The deep recession in the 90‘s created a national sense of urgency which made it possible for the government to increase R&D spending by 25 per cent in that period.
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