NSI to IDS: From the National System of Innovation to an African National Innovation and Development System (IDS) (Mammo Muchie)


There are four approaches to economic growth and development. The first is historical development that is best articulated in the history of development studies; the second is the Listian political economy approach that inspired import substitution industrialization and the developmental state. List introduced the political context explicitly and forthrightly to the challenges of economic development. The third is the Schumpeterian innovation approach to economic development. The latter introduced innovation as emerging with the dynamics of creative destruction by introducing explicitly sociological constraints to the dynamic of economic development. The last is the uneasy treatment of economic development by neo-classical mainstream economics. Neo-classical economics did not appreciate the emergence of development economics as a separate field and later in the 80s some neo-classical economists denounced the field with books such as the poverty of development economics (Deepak Lal) prompting reactions such as the Dilemmas of Economic Development by John Toye and others.

What this demonstrates is that there are a number of ways development economics is going through. What this paper will do is not address all of them, but select one approach, and that is the innovation approach to development economics. We think it will be useful to explore how the system of innovation has evolved, used and applied in order to filter through the epistemic virtue from it that can be employed to shed light on how development economics can evolve into a development and innovation system. We propose to unify the development ecomomics with the economics of innovation by suggesting the new conceptual framework of innovation and development system.

Working Paper