Working Paper No. 141. In Defense of Dwelling in Great Minds

PublikationWorking paper
Daniel Klein, Företagandets villkor, Innovation
Working Paper No. 141.
Ladda ner


It seems like a small and perhaps shrinking minority of economists know reverence of individual figures. Most economists seem to be without heroes, and sometimes disparage reverence as cultish idolatry. Here I collect from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man (1959) a few passages that eloquently suggest that “we need reverence to perceive greatness, even as we need a telescope to observe spiral nebulae.” The selection is made in the defense of seeking out and communing with great minds.

Klein, D.B. (2009). In Defense of Dwelling in Great Minds: A Few Quotations from Michael Polanyi’s The Study of Man. Ratio Working Paper No. 141.

Liknande innehåll

Third-Generation Innovation Policy: System Transformation or Reinforcing Business as Usual?
Bergkvist, J. E., Moodysson, J., & Sandström, C.


Publicerat i

Questioning the Entrepreneurial State, 201.


There has been a shift in innovation policy in recent years toward more focus on systemic transformation and changed directionality. In this chapter, we describe a collection of challenges that such policies need to address. Based on a review of dominant frameworks regarding socio-technical transitions, we compare these theories with examples of innovation policy in different countries. Systemic transformation across an economy usually requires a process of creative destruction in which new competencies may be required, actors need to be connected in novel ways, and institutions may need to be changed. Our empirical illustrations show that support programs and initiatives across Europe do not always seem to result in such a process, as they include mechanisms favoring large, established firms and universities. These actors have often fine-tuned their activities and capabilities to the existing order, and therefore have few incentives to engage in renewal. As the incumbent actors also control superior financial and relational resources, there is a risk that they captivate innovation policies and thus reinforce established structures rather than contributing to systemic transformation.

Assessing user perceptions of the interplay between the sharing, access, platform and community‐based economies
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Geissinger, A., Laurell, C., Öberg, C., Sandström, C. & Suseno, Y.



Digitally intermediated peer-to-peer exchanges have accelerated in occurrence, and as a consequence, they have introduced an increased pluralism of connotations. Accordingly, this paper aims to assess user perceptions of the interplay between the sharing, access, platform, and community-based economies.

The sharing, access, platform, and community-based economies have been systematically tracked in the social media landscape using Social Media Analytics (SMA). In doing so, a total material of 62,855 publicly posted user-generated content concerning the four respective economies were collected and analyzed.

Even though the sharing economy has been conceptually argued to be interlinked with the access, platform, and community-based economies, the empirical results of the study do not validate this interlinkage. Instead, the results regarding user perceptions in social media show that the sharing, access, platform, and community-based economies manifest as clearly separated.

This paper contributes to existing literature by offering an empirical validation, as well as an in-depth understanding, of the sharing economy’s interlinkage to other economies, along with the extent to which the overlaps between these economies manifest in social media.

Bureaucrats or Markets in Innovation Policy? – a critique of the entrepreneurial state
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Karlson, N., Sandström, C., & Wennberg, K.



This paper takes stock of recent suggestions that the state apparatus is a central and underappreciated actor in the generation, diffusion and exploitation of innovations enhancing growth and social welfare. We contrast such a view of “the entrepreneurial state” with theories and empirical evidence of the microeconomic processes of innovation in the modern economy which focus on well-functioning markets, free entry and competition among firms, and independent entrepreneurship as central mechanisms in the creation and dissemination of innovations. In doing so, we identify several deficiencies in the notion of an entrepreneurial state by showing that (i) there is weak empirical support in the many hundreds empirical studies and related meta analyses evaluating the effectiveness of active industrial and innovative policies, that (ii) these policies do not take account of the presence of information and incentive problems which together explain why attempts to address purported market failures often result in policy failures, and that (iii) the exclusive focus on knowledge creation through R&D and different forms of firm subsidies ignores the equally important mechanisms of knowledge dissemination and creation through commercial exploitation in markets. We discuss how a more theoretically well-founded focus on the state as investing in knowledge generation and securing the conditions of free and competitive markets will lead to a more innovative economy.

Visa fler

Ratio är ett fristående forskningsinstitut som forskar om hur företagandets villkor kan utvecklas och förbättras.

Sveavägen 59 4trp

Box 3203

103 64 Stockholm

Postgiro: 382621-1


Bankgiro: 512-6578