Distributional Assessment of Emerging Technologies

Susan E. Cozzens, Georgia Tech

Among the new expectations articulated for S&T policy is strengthening social cohesion and reducing inequality. An overly narrow emphasis on innovation for economic growth and competitiveness in Europe is being complemented with calls for quality of life objectives for research policy. In many developing countries, inequality is a prominent problem, and goals for science and technology are inevitably geared to address it.
Nonetheless, the research and innovation policy community knows little empirically about the effects of its instruments on social cohesion. On the one hand, those instruments may inadvertently reinforce or exacerbate existing inequalities; but there have been few studies of those effects. On the other hand, outside the domain of human resources, there is little empirical evidence on the effectiveness of S&T program designed to reduce inequalities.
This paper presents results from a cross-national, cross-technology study of the distributional effects of emerging technologies. Our central research question is how policy interventions affect distributional outcomes for the same technology under different national conditions. Emerging technologies are important to study because they are the site of change and growth in economies, because they are more likely to distribute benefits unequally, and because they stand at the intersection of global and national distributive processes. Conceptually, we define emerging technologies in this study as new and research-based, with potential broad impacts. Operationally, we are studying the actual distributional consequences of selected biotechnologies and information and communication technologies as a way to develop a framework that could be applied to other emerging technologies.

About the speaker
Susan E. Cozzens is Professor of Public Policy, Director of the Technology Policy and Assessment Center, and Associate Dean for Research in the Ivan Allen College. Dr. Cozzens's research interests are in science, technology, and innovation policies in developing countries, including issues of equity, equality, and development. She is active internationally in developing methods for research assessment and science and technology indicators. Her current projects are on water and energy technologies; nanotechnology; social entrepreneurship; pro-poor technology programs; and international research collaboration.

Venue: UNU-MERIT Conference Room

Date: 26 October 2010

Time: 12:30 - 13:30  CET