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This study addresses the outstanding question in comparative capitalism literature of whether Mixed Market Economies (MMEs) are always at a comparative disadvantage regarding innovation performance because of their assumed institutional incoherence (lack of institutional complementarities). Based on panel data for 26 OECD countries over 21 years, we compare MMEs with Liberal Market Economies (LMEs) and Coordinated Market Economies (CMEs) in relation to four types of innovation outcomes (publications, patents, exports and transformation of science). The comparative analysis is conducted at both an integrated and a dyadic level. The integrated level of analysis compares different groups of countries. This study shows that MMEs are at a disadvantage regarding publications, patents and exports. However, MMEs perform better than LMEs and CMEs in the transformation of national science into exported products from high R&D intensity sectors. At the dyadic level of analysis, individual MMEs are compared with a typical LME (USA) and a typical CME (Germany). This comparison shows that some MMEs perform better than the USA and Germany. The evidence reduces support for the assumption that MMEs are always at a comparative disadvantage due to institutional incoherence. The findings indicate that institutional incoherence does not in itself inhibit innovation performance in high R&D intensity sectors.
We explored one of the outstanding questions in the comparative capitalism debate: do MMEs always underperform comparatively in their innovation performance (publications, patents and high technology exports) and their transformation of national science into exported products. In other words, is institutional incoherence, as the central tenet of the MME, also the source of its disadvantage in the national innovation performance? We used 26 OECD economies and five categories in the VoC in a panel analysis over 21 years. First, we assessed the integrated effects of MMEs compared to LMEs and CMEs at the cluster level. Then, we assessed disintegrated MMEs at the national level of analysis. In both stages, we assessed three types of innovation performance (scientific articles, patents and high technology exports) for MMEs compared to LMEs or CMEs in six high R&D intensity sectors (aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals, scientific instruments and electrical machinery). We also used the link between science and exports to assess the role of institutions in the transformation of national science into commercial products. Thus, the two types of outcomes match with two levels of analysis: clustered MMEs and non-clustered MMEs. At the cluster (integrated) level, the MME shows a comparative disadvantage in the three innovation performance measures (publications, patents and exports). LMEs and CMEs significantly outperform MMEs on these measures. This revelation is consistent with prior literature finding that the LME or CME outperforms the MME in patent innovation (Akkermans et al., 2009; Hall and Soskice, 2001) and in high technology exports (Allen et al., 2006; Schneider et al., 2010). We introduced publications as the third type of innovation performance and found that the MME is at a comparative disadvantage in producing publications. Comparing the LME and the CME, the former outperforms the latter in terms of exports. The perceived reason for the LME's comparative advantage over the CME regarding exported products is its dynamic nature, which allows it to access external talent and general knowledge through the internationalization process (Allen et al., 2006; Allen and Whitely, 2012). In conclusion, there is significant support for the VoC hypothesis.