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Formal competencies in the innovation systems of the Nordic countries: An analysis based on register data

Svein Nås () and Et Al.

No 199806, STEP Report series from The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy

Abstract: This report analyses to what extent register data on employees can be utilised to study stocks and flows of personnel in a national innovation systems perspective. The registers contain information on each single employee in the three countries in the study (Sweden, Norway and Finland), including information on their age, education and employment at any particular time. This information is used partly to compare stocks of employees with different types of education across industrial sectors, and partly to describe flows of personnel between sectors. In the sectoral breakdown a particular attention has been given to higher education institutions and research institutes. Whereas the analyses of stocks can be said to describe the nodes in the innovation systems, the flow analysis adds to our capability of establishing and describing the links in the systems. By adding in information on knowledge creation, such as information on innovative activity or expenditure for R&D, the methodology allows for tracking of knowledge flows within the innovation systems. So far, however, such additional information has not been taken into account.Although the experiences of the approach have revealed that this is a feasible and productive line of research to expand our knowledge about innovation systems, there are indeed methodological problems involved – even when comparing countries that are so alike as the Nordic ones. The problems mainly relate to differences in industrial structures and education systems, with the resulting problems of coding and updating of registers. Despite these problems we are confident that we have presented a reasonable picture of the comparative picture in the Nordic countries. At an overall level we find the same main structures in all three countries, but there are also clear differences in certain aspects. We refer to the concluding chapter 5 for details about the findings.

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