Science and technology policy

The Knowledge-based Economy


OECD economies are increasingly based on knowledge and information. Knowledge is now recognised as the driver of productivity and economic growth. As a result, there is a new focus on the role of information, technology and learning in economic performance. The term " knowledge-based economy" stems from this fuller recognition of the place of knowledge and technology in modern OECD economies.

The OECD is increasingly concerned with understanding the dynamics of the knowledge-based economy and its relationship to traditional economics, as reflected in "new growth theory". The growing codification of knowledge and its transmission through communications and computer networks has led to the emerging "information society". The need for workers to acquire a range of skills and to continuously adapt these skills underlies the "learning economy". The importance of knowledge and technology diffusion requires better understanding of knowledge networks and "national innovation systems". Most importantly, new issues and questions are being raised regarding the implications of the knowledge-based economy for employment and the role of governments in the development and maintenance of the knowledge base.

Identifying "best practices" for the knowledge-based economy is a focal point of OECD work in the field of Science, Technology and Industry. This report is excerpted from the 1996 Science, Technology and Industry Outlook . It discusses trends in the knowledge-based economy, the role of the science system and the development of knowledge-based indicators and statistics.


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