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Breaking out of the innovation trap? Towards promoting private R&D investment in Kuwait

Arman, Husan, Iammarino, Simona, Ibarra-Olivo, J. Eduardo and Lee, Neil (2021) Breaking out of the innovation trap? Towards promoting private R&D investment in Kuwait. Kuwait Programme paper series (9). LSE Middle East Centre, London, UK.

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Kuwait combines rich-world national income with the Research and Development (R&D) spending of a developing country. This situation is unsustainable. This report uses the National System of Innovation (NSI) framework to investigate how the Kuwaiti government could increase private sector R&D spending. Based on a review of the existing literature and data alongside a survey of large Kuwaiti firms, we find that few of the necessary and sufficient conditions for a functioning NSI are currently in place. The most important problem for private sector R&D in Kuwait is the general lack of skills and capabilities for innovation, which means that firms have few incentives to invest in risky, long term and skill intensive R&D activity. Future efforts to increase R&D by simply investing further in public R&D risks wasting money, without the adequate institutions, skills and framework conditions required to turn R&D into commercial success. Instead, we argue the Kuwaiti government should rethink the education system at all levels, implement a bottom-up diversification strategy, strengthen the Kuwaiti Information System and carry out a thorough governance review of innovation processes.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Geography & Environment
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2021 08:06
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2021 23:26

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