REGROW – Reigniting growth through innovation
Research group: Macroeconomy and public finances Research began: 2020 Research ended: 2023 Sponsored by: Business Finland

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REGROW – Reigniting growth through innovation

REGROW – Reigniting growth through innovation

The world and its current economic growth paradigm are facing an exceptional combination of health, environmental, and economic crises. The Covid-19 pandemic, the accelerating climate change, and the persistent long-term economic stagnation are jointly reshaping the societal landscape, and Finland is no exception. Finding a sustainable growth path necessitates the revitalization of innovativeness, as well as investments in the resilience of societies.

In this project, a high-quality datasets and methodologies are used in order to address the key challenges to the current growth paradigm, anda novel policy levers to increase the effectiveness of innovation in the landscape of global turmoil following the pandemic will be searched for.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic is causing a large but yet in many ways uncertain disruption in innovative activities and in the workplace, throughout the project the research plans will be adjusted to make sure the analyses provide maximum support for Finnish companies and policy makers striving to overcome the
challenges and take advantage of the opportunities created by the crisis.

A series of research and position papers will be produced throughout the project. The draft versions of these papers will be presented in interactive events and meetings with participants from companies, research organizations, and various ministries and other public organizations.

The project proposes to host two major events in Finland in 2021 and in 2023. Furthermore, during the project duration, the project is prepared to organize several other high-level events.

The work in this research project is organized in four WPs.

WP 1. Novelty of ideas

In this project, a novel text analysis approach is applied to quantify the extent of frontier innovation across countries and sectors. It is also examined to what extent variation in frontier innovation explains differences in productivity growth across countries and sectors as well as the stagnation in overall productivity growth. Particular emphasis is placed on the performance of inventors in Finland. The advantages and barriers affecting our inventors’ ability to engage in frontier innovation will be quantified. In addition, the role of competition in fostering successful R&D investments in Finland is examined.

WP 2. Innovations, firms, and new forms of work

Firms outsource an increasing share of their core functions outside of traditional firm boundaries. The trend is global, but it has grown exceptionally in some countries over the past few years. One example in Finland is, for example, the growing number of new sole entrepreneurs, and it is evident that outsourcing has sometimes led to unsustainable business start-ups. How this can be turned back into positive development and support the regrowth of sustainably is one of the overarching questions for this project.

WP 3. Knowledge spillovers

This WP will study (a) to what extent companies benefit from the knowledge they obtain by recruiting employees from other companies, (b) the industries that have hired former Nokia employees and the kinds of tasks the former employees are currently working on, and (c) whether the impact of public R&D funding varies depending on the recruitments of the former Nokia employees.

WP 4. The standardization of technology

This research aims to shed light on (1) how Finnish companies participate in standardization and innovation ecosystems, (2) how standards have promoted innovation and shaped the value generation and (3) the conclusions drawn for Finnish companies regarding how to succeed in the future in the dataintensive platform economy.


This project brings together an exceptional and multidisciplinary group of high-quality researchers from Europe and the US. The Finnish research partners are Etla Economic Research and University of Turku. Foreign research partners are Stanford University, the University of Waterloo, the IMF and the University of Oxford.


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