More recently, information technology transformed the way companies produce and sell their goods and services, while opening up new markets and new business models. By setting interest rates, the ECB influences financing conditions in the economy and, ultimately, overall demand for goods and services. As innovation has profound effects on the macroeconomic environment, the ECB monitors its development and researches the economic and social preconditions that enable and support innovation.
One of the major benefits of innovation is its contribution to economic growth. Simply put, innovation can lead to higher productivity, meaning that the same input generates a greater output. As productivity rises, more goods and services are produced — in other words, the economy grows. New ideas and technologies are developed and applied, generating greater output with the same input. Innovation and productivity growth bring vast benefits for consumers and businesses.
As productivity rises, the wages of workers increase.
Innovation and Economic Growth: What is the actual importance of R&D?
They have more money in their pockets, and so can buy more goods and services. At the same time, businesses become more profitable, which enables them to invest and hire more employees. Innovation usually starts on a small scale, e. However, for the full benefits of innovation to be realised, it is necessary for it to spread across the economy and equally benefit companies in different sectors and of different sizes.
And all the indications suggest that scientific expertise is even more crucial in contemporary innovation. Universities and research institutes account for an impressive proportion of the patents relating to 3D printing, nanotechnology and robotics, the three potential breakthrough innovations that we studied.
Overall, we found evidence that the IP system has supported innovation. In addition, we did not see any indication that the large number of patent filings in 3D printing, nanotechnology, and robotics has resulted in increased litigation over patents or other friction over IP rights.
The studies also document the importance of knowledge-sharing for innovations to flourish. Sometimes this involves free sharing; for example, there are significant open-source communities in 3D printing and robotics. But proprietary approaches are also important, as illustrated by the frequent cross-licensing of semiconductor patents.
The IP system generally enables knowledge-sharing by providing a flexible tool for innovators to decide which technologies to share, with whom, and on what terms.
That, unfortunately, is where things get difficult. Logically, the answer should be yes.
How does innovation lead to growth?
There ought to be plenty of scope for growth in the global economy. There has been a huge fall in poverty globally over the past few decades, thanks largely to rapid development in China and India, but obviously many countries have not yet developed economically and many, many people remain very poor.
So there is room for development. And it is clear that some of the innovations now underway — including the three we studied — have astonishing potential. However, we really cannot take growth for granted. As I said earlier: It may prove to have been an historical anomaly. For me, the bottom line is this: But if governments and businesses stop investing, those days are definitely over. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WIPO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
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