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OECD Finds Promise in Emerging National Innovation Economies

September 21, 2011

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released the 10th edition of its annual Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard. Each year, OECD examines major trends in the global innovation economy and uses 180 indicators to evaluate the high-tech economies of OECD countries, as well as select non-OECD countries. The overarching theme of this year's release is the increased importance of the non-OECD countries, including Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, Indonesia, the People's Republic of China and South Africa, together dubbed the BRIICS countries. In the wake of the most recent global economic crisis, BRIICS countries have become more important, not just in manufacturing, but in high-tech manufacturing. While the U.S.' vaunted higher educational system continues to boast 40 of the world's top 50 research universities, the report provides a more diverse picture emerges once the rankings are broken out by research area.

In the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011, the 180 indicators are grouped into five categories based on the role they play in national tech-based development. The categories include:

  • Building Knowledge, for indicators that measure resources that firms and governments can use as a basis for future growth;
  • Connecting to Knowledge, for indicators of interconnectedness within a country's innovation economy;
  • Targeting New Growth Areas, for indicators that show how country's are targeting their scientific efforts and how they leverage their comparative advantage in growing industries;
  • Unleashing Innovation in Firms, for indicator of business dynamism and private sector innovation; and,
  • Competing in the Global Economy, for more general economic indicators and measures of overall high-tech development.

OECD does not provide a global rank of high-tech economies. Instead, the report offers data from the world's largest national economies to depict current trends. The most prominent of these trends is the increased involvement and interdependence of OECD and BRIICS countries. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in BRIICS countries has grown substantially since 2003, particularly investment from EU countries. At the same time, FDI outward flows from BRIICS countries also grew during that period. Over the past decade, outward flows from China and India increased nine-fold and seven-fold, respectively.

While service industries now account for about 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in OECD countries, manufacturing has remained strong in BRIICS countries. High-tech manufacturing, in particular, has grown in importance in BRIICS countries in the 2000s, and now represents about 30 percent of total manufacturing trade. In OECD countries, high-tech manufacturing represents about 25 percent of total manufacturing.

On the OECD website, you can find a 15-page summary of the 128 report, as well as a number of videos highlighting specific OECD findings. One of these offers an explanation of the report's new patent quality index and how that index demonstrates that patent quality is declining in OECD countries.

Read the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011...