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The sources and aims of innovation in services: variety between and within sectors

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Services dominate economic activity, but remain under-researched by analysts of innovation and technological change. The early 'one size fits all' theories of innovation in services have in recent years given way to an appreciation that services are diverse, not least in their innovation activities. This paper draws on recent empirical evidence from large-scale surveys undertaken in 13 western European countries, to investigate the extent and the sources of innovation in five services sectors. The analysis includes the extent to which services innovate, and amongst innovators the extent to which they engage in R&D and collaborative arrangements for innovation. The analysis supports the recent literature which emphasises significant differences between sectors in their pattern of innovation behaviour, but also highlights significant intra-sectoral differences in innovation behaviour. This intra-sectoral variation deserves much fuller investigation in the future.
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Keywords: Europe; Innovation; Services; Technological change

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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