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Why are some countries more technologically innovative than others? The dominant explanation amongst political-economists is that domestic institutions determine national innovation rates. However, after decades of research, there is still no agreement on precisely how this happens, exactly which institutions matter, and little aggregate evidence has been produced to support any particular hypothesis. This paper will review the equivocating evidence for domestic institutions explanations of national innovation rates. Its survey will show that, although a specific domestic institution or policy might appear to explain a particular instance of innovation, they generally fail to explain national innovation rates across time and space.
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