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Title: Governing technological change and the paradox of competitiveness : an analysis of state capacity in science, technology and innovation policies in Trinidad and Tobago
Author: Perry, Keston Kyle
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 0426
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates the evolution of state capacities in science, technology and innovation (ST&I) policies in a small developing country. It empirically examines the minutiae of interactions among various actors and agencies in this domain, with in-depth case analysis of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) during 2002 and 2015. Data were collected from forty-eight interviews with university researchers, state officials, industry, and donors, in addition to archival and secondary documentation. Findings show an uneven distribution of ideas, information, knowledge inputs, technical capabilities, and organisational power. Detailed historical analysis reveals changing state-society configurations according to social, political and economic developments. I thus conceptualise these asymmetric and dynamic relations across organisational units as 'networks of power'. Compared to the early 1970s, the state, pressured by anti-colonial mobilisations, created new institutions and fostered developmental coalitions comprising state and private enterprises, high-skilled researchers and multilateral agencies to successfully promote technologies in agriculture, telecommunications, energy, and steel. Its ability to design and implement ST&I policies is currently constrained by informal relationships, ethnic considerations, powerful sectoral interests, a fragmented institutional apparatus, intense clientelism, and the formal requirements of multilateral bodies. Taking a long-term horizon to improve technological capabilities, allocate to productive firms, coordinate agents, and deploy appropriate fiscal instruments is thus stymied. This analysis reveals a paradox: after thirty years of market-friendly policies, why has the country not improved its overall technological performance? Consequently, it was found that both innovation systems and 'good governance' frameworks do not endogenise the interplay of domestic and international forces in the national political economy that give rise to structural, technical and socio-political (STP) imbalances. I propose a novel approach - the Developmental Governance Capability Framework (DCGF) - that incorporates these dimensions to help reformulate ST&I interventions aligned to broad-based developmental aims, and considers the complex political processes associated with effecting new developmental coalitions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral