Journal of the Knowledge Economy

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 159–176 | Cite as

Evolution of the Knowledge Economy: a Historical Perspective with an Application to the Case of Europe

  • Jadranka ŠvarcEmail author
  • Marina Dabić


The goal of the article is to explore the evolution of original concept of knowledge economy based on science intensive production sectors toward service type economies which significantly changed the role of scientific research and technological innovation for economic growth. The paper argues that this transition is due not only to the structural changes in global production, but the theoretical evolution and paradigmatic shift of the concept of “knowledge economy” in general and “knowledge” in particular has played a significant role. The paper examines the different interpretation of knowledge within new types of intangible economies (e.g., new/Internet, weightless, service, creative, cultural economies) where knowledge is perceived to be generated not as a product of scientific research but as a service or creative activity and critically examined the role of scientific research in a service led knowledge economy. Additionally, the paper argue how these phenomena, which marked the global economy in the last decades, enable the transition of the standard concept of knowledge economy originated from industrial production and manufacturing to a knowledge economy equalized with various types of expanding intangible economies, primarily those based on service and creative industries.


Knowledge economy Concept evolution European countries Service economy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social Sciences “Ivo Pilar”ZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Nottingham Business SchoolNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

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