The Co-Evolution of Policy and Economic Development: A discussion on Innovative Regions

This paper looks at the link between emergence and intention for economic development, specifically as it relates to the development of technologically innovative regions. Hence the basic question underlying this paper is, when does economic development emerge and when, and how, can it be shaped through intentional efforts? The great debates of most fields associated with economic development rest on emergence versus intention and the interplay between the two. In this paper, we discuss our basic premise that the gap between economic development strategies and their poor implementation cannot simply be removed by creating better intended strategies, tools or institutions. The residual of unexplained divergence between goal and outcome, in this sense, can be ascribed in part to the interplay, or co-evolution, between policies (intention) and self-organizing (emergent) development. Therefore, as we assert, in promotion of economic development the question is more about directing emergence rather than controlling it, and hence policy is one part of a complex system, with an important role to play.

  • Authors: Markku Sotarauta & Smita Srinivas
  • Year: 2005
  • Organisation: Industrial Performance Centre-MIT
  • Publisher: MIT
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