Policy Support for Intangible Assets: A Varieties of Capitalism Perspective

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW1.3.01 (Tower One)
Fabian Bocek, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Alexander Ebner, Goethe-Universitaet Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
This paper is derived from the 7thFramework Programme Collaborative Research Project WWWforEurope – Welfare, Wealth and Work for Europe. The transition towards the knowledge based economy comes along with the shift of investment from tangible to intangible assets. Intangible assets are conceived as knowledge based capital and comprises various items that constitute the knowledge of the firm. Intangibles are divided into the three basic categories of computerized information, innovative property and economic competencies.

The first category of computerized information reflects knowledge embedded in computerized databases and software. The second category of innovative property is divided into scientific and non-scientific R&D. While scientific R&D comprises industrial knowledge that is embedded, e.g. in patents or licenses, non-scientific R&D includes copyrights and creative assets. Furthermore, intellectual property protection is associated with the category of innovative property. Economic competencies comprise a range of knowledge assets that firms invest in order to run their businesses, e.g. investments in brand development or employer-provided training.

New growth potentials are associated with intangible assets, particularly concerning technological innovations and the formation of new industries and business opportunities. Owing to the relevance of intangible assets, the notion of policies that seek to support them come to the fore. Approaching a Varieties of Capitalism perspective, we compare science, technology and innovation policy measures in order to facilitate investments in intangible assets. The key question is, if a convergence concerning these policies exist.

A decisive policy strategy is to support entrepreneurship, as it plays an important role in the creation of new jobs and as a source of innovation. Entrepreneurs are the key to the internationalisation of production networks and the enhancement of productivity. Owing to their willingness to take risks and engage in start-ups, they have a big potential to create new businesses, employment and stimulate growth.

Another locus of interest are collaborative projects, particularly in the field of R&D. Hence, we compare policies that aim at the elaboration of strategic partnerships between scientific sectors and industry sectors as well as public-private research partnerships. We analyse institutions of innovation policy that aim to foster the exchange of knowledge, and provide relevant information for business actors, e.g. concerning intellectual property rights.