The Estonian Genome Project and Economic Development
Rainer Kattel1 and Riivo Anton2
1Tallinn Technical University, 2University of Tartu
Abstract. According to its initiators, one of the objectives of the Estonian Genome Project (EGP), a nation-wide health and DNA database launched in 2001, is to positively impact Estonia’s economic development. This article asks under which conditions can the EGP have such an effect. We argue that knowledge-intensity of technological structure of the existing industry indicates, first, degree of existence of local clusters of economic value-added, and thus secondly, capacity to absorb technological development. Taken together, third, this indicates competitiveness of an economy in terms of ability to export and at the same time to raise real income (virtuous circles of growth). We find that the technological structure of Estonia’s industry is developing since mid-1990s towards less complexity, thus rendering locally produced current and future high technology and knowledge (e.g. the EGP) virtually without impact as far as economic development in Estonia is concerned (and not the success of individual ventures). The article also explores the policy options available that could remedy current situation.