BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Three decades of research on innovation and inequality: causal scenarios, explanatory factors, and suggestions

    Fragkandreas, Thanos (2022) Three decades of research on innovation and inequality: causal scenarios, explanatory factors, and suggestions. Working Paper. Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK.

    47609.pdf - Published Version of Record

    Download (462kB) | Preview


    Prompted by rising income inequality (in short, inequality) in advanced economies, a rapidly growing number of studies across various fields and disciplines of social science have, since the 1990s, sought to find out how innovation (as the main engine of economic progress) affects the distribution of income in modern-day capitalist societies. Using the systematic literature review method, this paper provides the first critical review of 166 studies on innovation and inequality published in 114 journals in the last three decades (1990-2019). It is shown that while the great majority of studies under review concur that innovation induces inequality, this finding is subject to the disciplinary origins of research (e.g., development studies, economics, etc.) and the country under investigation (e.g., United States, United Kingdom, etc.). Furthermore, guided by an original causally holistic analytical framework, the analysis demonstrates that the relationship between innovation and inequality is significantly more causally complex than the most popular theoretical perspective (i.e. skill-biased technological change account) has let us believe; in particular, it is subject to five causal scenarios and a range of explanatory factors (i.e. skill premiums, technological unemployment, international trade, declining union membership, spatial aspects, changing employment conditions, policy, horizontal inequalities, sectoral composition and types of innovation). The paper ends by discussing findings, policy implications and knowledge gaps, one of which concerns the following under-researched question: how, and under what conditions do publicly-funded innovation policies reduce (or increase) inequality?


    Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
    Additional Information: CIMR Working Paper no.60, ISSN: 2052-062X
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Innovation, Income Inequality, Innovation Studies, Systematic Literature Review
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Innovation Management Research, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2022 10:23
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:15


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item