• Investment and growth in OECD economies is increasingly driven by investment in intangible assets, also known as knowledge-based capital (KBC). In many OECD countries, firms now invest as much or more in KBC as they do in physical capital such as machinery, equipment and buildings.

    The rise of KBC creates new challenges for policymakers, business and the statisticians that measure economic activity. New thinking is needed to update a range of policy frameworks – from tax and competition policies to corporate reporting and intellectual property rights. As part of phase two of the KBC project, this report takes a closer look at IP’s role in OECD economies while examining some of the most significant changes to the landscape in which it is operating.

  • Seizing the benefits from data-driven innovation (DDI) requires governments to encourage investments in data, promote data sharing and reuse, and reduce barriers to cross border data flows that could disrupt global value chains. At the same time, governments will need to strike the right balance between the social benefits of “openness”, and individuals’ and organisations’ legitimate concerns, including the protection of privacy and intellectual property rights.

    This report argues that data and data analytics have become an essential driver of innovation akin to scientific research and development (R&D). It also argues that governments must redefine infrastructure in the 21st Century to include not only broadband networks and cloud computing, but also data itself.

  • The efficiency and effectiveness of policy for science, technology and innovation (STI) is important for many reasons. STI is key to long-term economic growth and higher standards of living. Breakthroughs in STI are needed to address global challenges in cost-effective ways, in areas ranging from climate change to disease threats and the consequences of population ageing. Good policy for STI is also critical because much essential scientific and technical knowledge is lacking, while the pace of innovation is insufficient in some crucial fields such as energy generation. Well-conceived policy is likewise needed to respond to complex economic and institutional dynamics associated with new technologies, such as the loss of jobs to machines.

    In recent years, almost all major themes in policy for STI have been examined by the OECD’s Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP). This report provides a synthesis of the policy lessons learned through CSTP’s work. Equally, the report aims to identify the most important unanswered questions about policies for STI. Drawing on CSTP’s work and a wider literature review, this publication describes the additional information and analyses that might be of most use to policy makers.

  • OECD countries are making increased efforts to develop their digital economies in a way that will maximise social and economic benefits, but now need to address the risk of disruption in areas like privacy and jobs, according to a new OECD report.

    The OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015 finds that most countries have moved from a narrow focus on communications technology to a broader digital approach that integrates social and economic priorities. Yet no OECD country has a national strategy on online privacy protection or is funding research in this area. The report - which covers areas from broadband penetration and industry consolidation to network neutrality and cloud computing in OECD and partner countries like Brazil, Colombia and Egypt - also says more should be done to offer information and communication technology skills training to help people transition to new types of digital jobs.

  • The slowdown in productivity over the past decade has added to concerns about the long-term economic outlook, but the OECD’s latest work on The Future of Productivity identifies impediments to future growth and proposes policies to address them. The new OECD research shows that the gap between high productivity firms and the rest has been increasing over time, suggesting that there are barriers to the diffusion of new innovations.

    Policy reforms to be considered are measures to revive the diffusion of innovation and to make better use of human talent. These include bankruptcy laws that don’t penalise failure, innovation policies that ensure a level playing field between incumbents and new entrants, encouraging public investment in basic research, housing market policies that facilitate residential mobility, the promotion of adult and lifelong learning, and employment protection legislation that does not impose too heavy or unpredictable costs on hiring and firing.

  • Recent events where science advice has been called into question include Ebola, Fukushima and the L'Aquila earthquake. If science is to answer the complex and controversial questions being asked by policy makers, the media and the public, scientific advice must be effective, transparent, and legitimate.

    Scientific Advice for Policy Making: The Role and Responsibility of Expert Bodies and Individual Scientists</a> argues that governments would benefit from agreeing common principles for developing and communicating scientific advice, both in crisis situations and for long-term policy making. Governments should also differentiate advisory roles from policy decision-making roles, and define from the outset the legal responsibilities and potential liability of advisors.

  • Squeezed budgets in the EU, US and Japan are reducing the weight of advanced economies in science and technology research and leaving China on track to be the world’s top R&D spender by around 2019. The OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014 finds that with R&D spending by most OECD governments and businesses yet to recover from the economic crisis, the OECD’s share in global R&D spending has slipped from 90% to 70% in a decade. The report warns that with public finances still tight in many countries, the ability of governments to compensate for lower business R&D with public funding, as they did during the worst of the economic downturn, has become more limited.

  • Space Economy at a Glance highlights some of the key results from ongoing OECD work on the economic dimensions of Space research and development, including findings on the Space sector’s global value chains and a review of innovation dynamics that may revolutionise the sector. While space budgets in the 34 OECD countries totalled USD 50.8 billion in 2013, down from USD 52.3 billion in 2008, the combined space budget of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) swelled to USD 24.0 billion from USD 16.5 billion over the same period. Supply chains for spacecraft, launchers and parts are increasingly globalised, IT companies are becoming satellite operators and rapid growth in small satellite launches will mean more commercialisation of earth observation data. This will increase the opportunities for start-ups and emerging economies to get into the space sector, according to the report, but it means governments should keep up their spending on space R&D, which can yield big returns in the form of new technologies, and invest in industry niches where they can be competitive in this new space race.

  • The role of government and R&D performance are central to this review of Viet Nam, to be launched in Hanoi on 24 November, 2014. OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy offer a comprehensive assessment of the innovation system of individual OECD member countries and non-member economies, focusing on the role of government. They provide concrete recommendations on how to improve policies that affect innovation performance, including R&D policies.

  • Companies that base their decisions on data and analytics outperform other firms. Substantial social benefits are expected from the collection and analysis of data, for example, when addressing ageing societies and natural disasters. But the use of data and analytics comes with serious policy challenges, including the promotion of trust among individuals and the development of data-analytics skills that, if not supplied, could lead to missed opportunities for job creation in the data-driven economy. This year’s Global Forum on the Knowledge Economy brought together a wide range of high-level panellists focusing on data-driven innovation.