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CEP Discussion Paper
Technological Innovation and Performance in the United Kingdom
Stephen Nickell and John Van Reenen
January 2001
Paper No' CEPDP0488:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: innovation; technology; productivity growth

Over the period since 1970, Britain has improved its relative productivity performance, but there remains a significant gap in market sector productivity between Britain and both Continental Europe and the United States. Much of the gap between Britain and Continental Europe is due to lower levels of capital intensity and skill. However, even taking these into account, there remains a significant gap between Britain and the United States. This reflects not just a weakness in high tech areas but an inability to absorb best-practice techniques and methods in wide swathes of the market sector. Part of this is due to a weakness in technological innovation despite a high quality science base. This includes comparatively low and falling levels of R\&D and patenting as well as a distinct lag in the diffusion of innovations relative to other countries.