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119 Working Paper

Is Europe Becoming the Most Dynamic Knowledge Economy in the World?

Apr 23, 2024 – Daniele Archibugi and Alberto Coco


The paper discusses the condition and perspective of the European Union in the knowledge economy and the feasibility of the goal given by the European Council at the Summits held in Lisbon (March 2000) and Barcelona (March 2002), that is, to increase European R&D expenditure up to 3 percent of GDP by 2010. The paper focuses on two aspects: comparative performance with its direct counterparts, in particular the US..; and intra-European distribution of resources and capabilities. A set of technological indicators is presented to show that Europe is still in a consistent delay when compared to Japan and the U.S., especially in R&D investment and in the generation of innovations. A small convergence occurs in the diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the sector most directly linked to the concept of the “new economy.” In the field of knowledge collaboration, Europe reveals opposing paths in the business and in the academic worlds. Within Europe, the level of investment in scientific and technological activities is so different across countries that it does not merge into a single continental innovation system.