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不断变化的美国创新结构:关于经济增长的一些告诫

来源于 《比较》 2019年第5期 出版日期 2019年10月01日
文丨阿希什·阿罗拉 沙伦·贝伦佐 安德烈亚·帕塔科尼 徐政奎

7.结语

  在所谓的美国资本主义“黄金年代”,大企业实验室是开展研究的重要场所,也是科技进步的重要来源。在“黄金年代”的萌芽阶段,大学研究的规模还很小(当然这是与当下的规模相比较而言的),而且它们的研究质量参差不齐。随着时间的推移,大学研究逐步壮大,并且得到联邦政府的大力支持。恰好在这一时期,在位企业拥有强大的市场力量,但受到咄咄逼人的反垄断行动的遏制(或许这远非巧合)。

  尽管企业研究取得的卓越成果有目共睹,但企业研究(特别是大型企业实验室)逐渐失去投资者的青睐,最终管理者也不再重视它们。科研的中心转向大学研究和旨在利用大学实验室的科技成果实现发展的初创企业,这些初创企业往往获得风险投资的支持。企业开始从外部资源获取创意和发明成果,希望将它们与自己的下游开发能力和产业化能力相结合。

  这种愿景没有完全实现,至少目前尚未实现。尽管创新分工与时俱进,不断完善,但它面对的挑战也越来越严峻。大学研究与企业研究截然不同。大学研究的任务导向性较弱,而且规模不大,往往集中于单一学科,这意味着大学研究产出的往往是见解,而且这些见解需要继续开发和探索才能得到可商用的发明成果。事实已经证明,这种模式的复杂程度和挑战性超出了人们的预期。

  看起来企业研究不会重拾昔日的荣光。大企业大规模招募数据科学家、机器学习专家和经济学家的举动,似乎预言了一个完全不同的未来。笔者并不认同这一点。在一段时期内,通过摘取“低垂果实”快速取得成果的做法(如优化拍卖或广告宣传的方式)或许会掩盖问题,但是以盈利为目的的企业在管理内部的长期研究时,面对的根本性挑战仍然令人敬畏。换句话说,尽管企业雇用数据科学家和经济学家后会大幅提升自己的效率,但只有少数案例表明这么做能创造出全新的市场,而且在位企业仍然依赖外部发明推动自身的增长。因此,从长远看,大学研究仍然是此类发明的主要创意来源。如何持续开展经济实验探寻最有效的方法,将大学的科学洞察力转化为技术进步并最终提升生产率,这一问题对未来的繁荣昌盛仍然至关重要。

(刁琳琳 译)

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