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OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation: Basque Country, Spain 2011

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The Basque Country region in Spain is world renowned for a successful industrial transformation, the urban regeneration of Bilbao, cultural distinctiveness, unique governance arrangements and high wealth levels. Over the last 30 years, the region has implemented its science, technology and innovation (STI) policy driven by a need to boost industrial competitiveness. The role of total factor productivity and innovation in driving growth was significant in the 1990s and declined in the early part of this decade, but appears to be on the rise again thanks in part to significant increases in public and private investment in innovation.  The Basque Country has begun a transition from a model of incremental innovation in manufacturing to a model increasingly based on science and other forms of knowledge. Through a diagnostic of the innovation system and the policy mix, the review offers some policy and governance recommendations to achieve the region’s desired transition in light of global trends in the innovation process and innovation policy.

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Innovation and the Basque economy

The Basque Country region in Spain is well known for its successful industrial transformation and high levels of wealth. Is the innovation system prepared to transition from a model of incremental innovation in manufacturing to a model based on science and other forms of knowledge? This chapter provides an overview of the Basque Country’s socio-economic trends, including sub-regional variations. It explores the factors driving the region’s growth and productivity, with an emphasis on innovation-related indicators, to explore the so-called “Basque competitive paradox”. The chapter concludes with an overview of the key actors in the regional innovation system.

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