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Innovation systems, institutional change and the new knowledge market: implications for third world agricultural development

Clark, N

Economics of Innovation and New Technology   11 (4-5) 353-368

January 2002   (Version of record first published July 2006)

This paper uses a simplified version of classical information theory to improve
understanding of the dynamic potential of innovation systems in developing countries
with a special focus on issues of agricultural poverty. Using examples drawn from
emergent knowledge markets in industrialised countries, the paper suggests that such an
analytical approach focuses attention directly on the types of institutional reforms
necessary to improve the effectiveness of Third World agricultural R&D. Contrast is
made with more conventional approaches that take institutional structures as given and
focus more on factors such as price regimes, policy weaknesses and political will. The
paper argues that so great now are the problems in this area (particularly in Sub-Saharan
Africa) that there is a clear need for institutional reform to accompany relevant
technological changes. In the absence of such reform innovative (and hence economic)
potential is likely to be compromised.