The Knowledge Based Economy

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GENERAL DISTRIBUTION OCDE/GD(96)102

THE KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMY

ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT Paris 1996

Copyright OECD, 1996 Applications for permission to reproduce or translate all or part of this material should be made to: Head of Publications Service, OECD, 2 rue André Pascal, 75775 Paris, Cedex 16, France.

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FOREWORD

The OECD economies are increasingly based on knowledge and information. Knowledge is now recognised as the driver of productivity and economic growth, leading to a new focus on the role of information, technology and learning in economic performance. The term “knowledge-based economy” stems from this fuller recognition of the place of knowledge and technology in modern OECD economies. OECD analysis is increasingly directed to understanding the dynamics of the knowledge-based economy and its relationship to traditional economics, as reflected in “new growth theory”. The growing codification of knowledge and its transmission through communications and computer networks has led to the emerging “information society”. The need for workers to acquire a range of skills and to continuously adapt these skills underlies the “learning economy”. The importance of knowledge and technology diffusion requires better understanding of knowledge networks and “national innovation systems”. Most importantly, new issues and questions are being raised regarding the implications of the knowledge-based economy for employment and the role of governments in the development and maintenance of the knowledge base. Identifying “best practices” for the knowledge-based economy is a focal point of OECD work in the field of science, technology and industry. This report discusses trends in the knowledge-based economy, the role of the science system and the development of knowledge-based indicators and statistics. It is excerpted from the 1996 Science, Technology and Industry Outlook, which is derestricted on the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMARY ...................................................................................................................................... 7 I. THE KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMY: TRENDS AND IMPLICATIONS............................ 9 A. Introduction............................................................................................................................... 9 B. Knowledge and economics .......................................................................................................10 C. Knowledge codification ............................................................................................................12 D. Knowledge and learning ...........................................................................................................13 E. Knowledge networks ................................................................................................................14 F. Knowledge and employment .....................................................................................................16 G. Government policies.................................................................................................................18 II. THE ROLE OF THE SCIENCE SYSTEM IN THE KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMY.........20 A. Introduction.............................................................................................................................21 B. Knowledge production..............................................................................................................21 C. Knowledge transmission...........................................................................................................22 D. Knowledge transfer ..................................................................................................................24 E. Government policies...
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