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The Politics of InnovationWhy Some Countries Are Better Than Others at Science and Technology$
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Mark Zachary Taylor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190464127

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190464127.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 June 2021

“Why Nations Fail”

“Why Nations Fail”

Capitalism, Democracy, and Decentralization

(p.107) 5 “Why Nations Fail”
The Politics of Innovation

Mark Zachary Taylor

Oxford University Press

This chapter digs deeper into the widely held belief that “institutions rule!” It first asks whether there exists some special combination of institutions and policies that explains Cardwell’s Law. It therefore examines research on how a country’s institutions and policies fit together to form a National Innovation System. It then looks at the “Why Nations Fail” thesis that currently dominates explanations of innovative economies. It explores the effects of democracy, political decentralization, and “Varieties of Capitalism” on innovation. The overwhelming evidence is that none of these theories adequately explains national success in S&T. Theories that put specific institutions or policies at their core, as causal forces behind sustained S&T progress, have been overstated and oversimplified and need to be re-examined. In other words, we are missing something. To find that missing something, we must go beyond the vague platitude that “institutions and policies matter.”

Keywords:   democracy, capitalism, decentralization, Varieties of Capitalism, national innovation system

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