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To what extent do market failures result in a similar optimal allocation of resources to the innovation process? What might EU Policy do to correct such failures?

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Introduction

To what extent do market failures result in a similar optimal allocation of resources to the innovation process? What might EU Policy do to correct such failures? Innovation has a crucial impact on the standards of living in particular economy. It is generally agreed that research and innovation are the main sources of growth and job creation in market economies. i.e. output is increased through greater acquisition of knowledge. Subsequently, 2 things matter for economic growth: savings and the state of the productive knowledge (i.e. shows how productivity the extra capital will be used). The production function diagram below can illustrate this Where labour productivity per worker experiences diminishing marginal returns This diagram shows how economic growth can be realised by accumulation of capital and/or higher levels of knowledge. It should be noted that productivity growth is the difference between the growth of inputs and the growth of outputs and that technological progress is measured as residual-so that any problems with measuring inputs or outputs, will be transferred onto measuring technological progress. There are 2 movements on the diagram: a to b - due to the accumulation of capital and b to c - due to the growth of productivity or technical progress. ...read more.

Middle

The innovation process both generates and is influenced by uncertainty and this aspect of market failure is particularly damaging to the possibility of a Pareto-efficient allocation of resources to invention and innovation. It is the inherent level of uncertainty, which most distinguishes an R+D project from a traditional industrial investment project. Innovation entails numerous scientific, technological and commercial uncertainties, which make it difficult for financial bankers to forecast results and monitor their investment project. Put briefly, missing or future markets for contingent claims in an uncertain world do not exist in any sense sufficiently for individuals to take risks in an optimal fashion. In addition to the uncertainties, providers of capital face another major difficulty: this derives from the intangible nature of innovation and the fact that investment cost is not recoverable. Consequently, the percentage of innovation projects, which are successful and generate a return on a large investment, is usually low. Thus financial backers insist on real guarantees to cover themselves if the investment fails. It is difficult to ascertain optimal levels of innovation in an uncertain world due to the existence of information asymmetries; Stiglitz (1991) makes it clear, that the resulting unequal distribution of knowledge creates problems of adverse selection and moral hazard, which deny the possibility of Pareto-optimality. ...read more.

Conclusion

The EU introduced a science and technology policy as to corrective for pervasive market failures and also due to the emergence of the single European market. The policy emphasised obvious areas of collaboration for R+D and innovation in order to be more competitive with USA and Japan and to compete with the low wages in South America. Currently, member states are spending 1.9% of their resources on innovation compared with 2.5% in Japan and 2.7% in USA. Recently, the EU set the target at an overenthusiastic 3% The policy corrects market failures in uncertainties by appropriating price structures in the missing markets and thereby reducing distortions. Moreover, missing markets imply the need for agents to form expectations on the likely private values of their questions, expectations which policy can certainly influence. Given all these difficulties, which arise from the innovation process, it would seem to be wishful thinking to imagine that scientific and technological progress could be adequately funded in all the market economies without some form of government assistance. However one needs to recognise that government intervention can fail as well. Such examples are, imperfect information, the benefit between those who pay and those who benefit, bureaucratic capture and pressure group activity. It does not automatically follow that government policy will be welfare-improving. This is particularly so with respect to innovative activates, the formulation of which entails access to detailed microeconomic and social information ...read more.

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