Innovation Policy and Federalism: the German experience
by Helmut Karl, Rudiger Wink
International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy (IJFIP), Vol. 2, No. 3/4, 2006

Abstract: The German Innovation Policy is based on two strategic elements: innovation policy tries to build up innovation infrastructures mainly related to the generation of new knowledge with the help of big science associations. Simultaneously, innovation policy follows mission-oriented objectives (focusing on key technologies) and strives to improve knowledge diffusion (increasing the share of commercialised knowledge). Due to the German Federalism, both strategic elements are located on a federal and Lander level. Therefore, on regional and central level policymakers struggle with similar problems. In particular, the mission-oriented approach suffers from serious knowledge deficits and there is a political failure to pick the 'winners'. In addition, the mix of joint decision and finance schemes and autonomous decision structures on federal and regional levels cause inefficiencies, because not all responsibilities are efficiently allocated. A lack of transparency also exists, because the support schemes and instruments are too complex. Therefore, the division of labour between the federal state and the Lander beyond the infrastructure policy can be improved.

Online publication date: Tue, 18-Jul-2006

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