Innovation and the State: Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Policy Capacity

  • Erkki KaroEmail author
  • Rainer Kattel
Part of the Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy book series (PEPP)


In this chapter we propose an evolutionary analytical approach to policy capacity with a specific focus on policy domains where uncertainty and need for policy innovations, or novelty creation, is a central concern for effective policies. From an evolutionary perspective, the core elements of policy capacity are: (a) organizational routines and their varieties, (b) search and selection and the endogenous and exogenous sources of novelty creation, (c) selection and feedback environments. We operationalize these elements and illustrate the value of the evolutionary analytical perspective through discussing the evolution of science, technology and innovation (STI) policy capacities of three Asian Tigers.


Innovation Evolutionary theory of policy capacity Organizational routines Organizational variety 



Research for this chapter has been funded by the Estonian Research Council grants IUT19-13, ETF9404, the INET Grant Innovation and the State: How Should Government Finance and Implement Innovation Policy? and the JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15F15760. We thank R.R. Nelson for useful comments and feedback.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and GovernanceTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia

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