By Pekka Ylä-Anttila
Original news available at http://blogit.jamk.fi/cfc/#.UCo26Wtb6dc
For anyone interested in economic change, Finland is an interesting case for two reasons. First, Finland has transformed itself in a relatively short period from a resource-intensive economy into a knowledge-based one. Second, the transformation coincided with major macro economic crisis in the early nineties – recovery from a deep recession and major structural transformation took place simultaneously. Among the OECD countries Finland is one of the late industrializing ones. Industrialization process really took off in the latter part of the nineteenth century, but the income per capita level remained roughly one half of that in the Great Britain – the leading economy at that time.
Still, during the post war decades, up the 1960s, Finland was in the catching–up phase of development — relying mainly on imported technologies and abundant forest resources. Physical investment intensity was among the highest in Europe, and foreign trade, financial markets and capital movements were heavily regulated.
Today, Finland is not only one of the most open economies in the world, but also one of the leading knowledge-based economies. Research and development expenditure in relation to GDP is one of the highest in the world – about 3,5 %. Higher education enrollment is well above the OECD average; number of researchers in relation to population is higher than in any other country. During the 1990s the economy oriented heavily towards ICT (information and communication technologies), and by the end of the decade the country was the most ICT specialized economy in the world.