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  • Author or Editor: A. Szalavetz x
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Awareness about the growing role of networks in economic activity keeps rapidly increasing as reflected by the number of publications in international academic literature. This literature is, however, concerned with the advantages of network-based cooperation, while analyses of network failure and inferior-to-expectations outcomes remain scarce. This paper adds to the accumulating evidence that network formation and network integration are no panacea: similarly to the much-researched and analysed phenomena of market failure or government (state) failure, there is such thing as network failure .Combining theoretical arguments with Hungarian fieldwork experience originating from the author’s past investigations, cases of network failure and network misalignment both within the innovation system and within producer networks are examined. Another focus of this paper is institutional and policy (mis)alignment, i.e. the question, how the institutional set-up facilitates or works against achieving developmental goals in Hungary. We claim that though networks have an impact on development outcomes, the effectiveness of networks, i.e. their developmental role and the value of network ties are continuously shaped by network actors’ capabilities and behaviour.

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We argue that the information technology revolution has brought about the differentiation of secular capital-using and labour-saving direction of technical change. Based on the example of the US manufacturing industry, asset and sector specific differences in the bias of technical change are documented. While the clear ICT- and intangible capital-using bias of technical change is well-documented in the literature, this paper provides evidence for the non-ICT capital-saving bias of technical change in the fifth Kondratieff cycle. In the past decade the US manufacturing sector displayed a noticeable deceleration of capital accumulation and capital intensity increase, a trend that diverges from the one observed in the other two sectors of the economy: in agriculture and in services. Non-ICT capital-saving technical change provokes increasing divergence between the development strategies of technological followers (characterised by tangible investment-led growth, and increasing capital-output ratios), and of technological leaders (marked by increasing intangible capital-intensity and diminishing tangible capital-intensity).

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The applicability of selected aspects of the European regional policy approach to Hungary is analysed in the present paper. The balanced approach of European regional development — one combining structural change with performance improvement of existing actors — is contrasted with the one-sided Hungarian approach — one restricting modernisation efforts to facilitating structural change and attracting new economic actors. The paper — funded by the INCO-Copernicus — argues that in order to achieve the required regional transformation, besides institution building, strengthening, i.e. “empowering”, existing regional development institutions is also necessary.

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