Keywords: Innovation Policy; Structural Change; International Competitiveness.
The paper focuses on some structural weaknesses of the Italian industrial system with respect to other industrialised and emerging countries and argues that the country needs a deep structural change in its international production specialization in order to face the actual economic phase and possibly return to a faster pace of growth. In fact, in the authors' view, the Italian economic recovery in the long-run can only occur through a progressive shift of our production efforts from traditional and mature sectors towards more knowledge-intensive economic activities and a stronger presence in high-tech industries. After a detailed analysis of the main economic reasons that lie behind the necessity for structural change, we review all the recent experiences of countries that adopted industrial and innovation policies that successfully triggered the take-off of innovation activities, in order to highlight the most prominent regularities and basic insights. Allegedly, this conceptual framework is used to develop an heuristic model of innovation policy interventions aiming at favouring structural change and to derive a series of innovation policy guidelines for the Italian context.