ETLA Discussion Papers, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) 973
The Finnish experience in the 1990s represents one of the few examples of how knowledge can become the driving force in economic growth and transformation. The country’s industrial structure that was previously raw material-, energy-, and capital-intensive changed in less than a decade to primarily a knowledge-intensive on. During the first year of the 21st century Finland has topped the list in various competitiveness rankings and is also number one in OECD’s PISA studies of youth’s learning skills and educational attainment. The aim of this paper is to discuss the nature and role that industry policy has played in these developments, with an explicit focus on the specificities and recent shifts in policy thinking and implementation in Finland. We discuss the emergence of new industrial policies in Finland in the early 1990s, the main policy initiatives and measures, present the organisational landscape of these new policies, and conclude with a partial assessment of the success of policies and future challenges.