Industry and globalisation

New sources of growth: Knowledge-based capital



Background  |  Phase 2   Policy brief  |  Events  |  Presentations  |  Further reading


Supporting Investment in Knowledge Capital, Growth and Innovation


Supporting Investment in Knowledge Capital, Growth and Innovation

Published: October 2013
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Investment and growth in OECD economies is increasingly driven by investment in intangible assets, also known as knowledge-based capital (KBC). In many OECD countries, firms now invest as much or more in KBC as they do in physical capital such as machinery, equipment and buildings. This shift reflects a variety of long-term economic and institutional transformations in OECD economies.

The rise of KBC creates new challenges for policymakers, for business and for the ways in which economic activity is measured. Many policy frameworks and institutions are still best suited to a world in which physical capital drove growth. New thinking is needed to update a range of policy frameworks – from tax and competition policies to corporate reporting and intellectual property rights.

To address the rise of KBC – and contributing to the OECD’s work on new approaches to economic challenges – the OECD is undertaking work which aims to:

  • Provide evidence of the economic value of KBC as a new source of growth; and
  • Improve understanding of current and emerging challenges for policy, in such areas as taxation, competition, intellectual property rights, personal data, and corporate reporting.

The project draws on expertise from across the OECD Secretariat and Committees.


KBC Phase Two

Enquiries into Intellectual Property's Economic Impact

August 2015

Enquiries into Intellectual Property's Economic Impact takes a closer look at IP’s role in OECD economies while examining some of the most significant changes to the landscape in which it is operating, including digitisation and the growth of the Internet.

Data-Driven Innovation

October 2015

Data-driven innovation forms a key pillar in 21st century sources of growth. The confluence of several trends, including the increasing migration of socio-economic activities to the Internet and the decline in the cost of data collection, storage and processing, are leading to the generation and use of huge volumes of data – commonly referred to as “big data”.


Policy brief

Maximizing the benefits of R&D tax incentives for innovation

Maximising the benefits of R&D tax incentives for innovation

This policy brief highlights OECD analysis on the economic consequences of R&D tax incentives to help governments design better policy packages to foster innovation and exploit new sources of growth.

To learn more, visit






OECD Global Forum on the Knowledge Economy 2014: Data-driven Innovation for a Resilient Society
Tokyo, 2-3 October 2014
A confluence of significant technological, social and economic trends is generating huge streams of data, commonly referred to as “big data”. The GFKE 2014 will aim at accelerating discussions at the international level on the collection and use of data throughout the economy and society for enhanced growth and well-being.‌‌

The Role of Intangible, Knowledge-based Capital in Economic Growth
14 January 2014, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Washington, DC
This event included a presentation on the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2013: Innovation for Growth report, with a particular focus on intangible capital. The presentation of the report findings was followed by reactions from experts in intangible capital issues.

Growth, Innovation and Competitiveness: Maximising the Benefits of Knowledge-Based Capital
13-14 February 2013, Paris, OECD Conference Centre
In the context of the New Sources of Growth project, this high-level policy-oriented conference aimed to present, review and build on the findings of the OECD’s two-year programme of work examining the role of knowledge-based capital in growth.

A Policy Framework for Knowledge-Based Capital
3-4 December 2012, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
Bringing together a group of leading academics and policy analysts, in an informal setting, this workshop aimed to examine conceptual and policy frameworks for knowledge-based (intangible) capital. A deeper understanding of knowledge-based assets is a critical step toward advancing economic policy. Better understanding can help governments meet new economic challenges, avoid systemic dysfunction, and promote informed development and growth – rather than merely fine-tuning the status quo. The deliberations feed into the conclusions of a wide-ranging two-year OECD project on knowledge-based capital and growth.

Conference on new building blocks for jobs and economic growth
16-17 May 2011, Washington, DC
This conference aimed to raise public awareness about the growing importance of intangibles in driving economic growth and to provide a road map for identification of key research and policy areas that can help governments and businesses develop growth strategies that adopt a broad concept of innovation and thereby better utilise intangible assets.


Further reading

Enquiries into Intellectual Property's Economic Impact- New sources of growth: Knowledge-based capital, phase two

Data-driven Innovation for Growth and Well-being: Interim synthesis report

New Sources of Growth: Knowledge-Based Capital Key Analyses and Policy Conclusions - Synthesis report

Reform R&D tax systems to boost innovation and help young firms, says OECD

Measuring R&D tax incentives

OECD Insights blog: In search of elusive growth - Making the most of R&D tax incentives

Data-driven innovation for growth and well-being

Improving measurement of knowledge-based capital (INTAN-Invest Database)

OECD Observer: Untangling intangible assets

OECD work on new sources of growth


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