Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Martin Rhodes, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Haider A. Khan

Third Advisor

Rachel Epstein

Fourth Advisor

Darius Ornston


Lighthouse effects, Cluster dynamics, Institutional adjustments, Policy initiatives


The Nordic economies of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden outperform on average nearly ever OECD country in the share of value added stemming from the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. Early investments in computing and telecommunications, supportive social democratic institutions, and effective innovation/technology policy, help to explain overall Nordic ICT performance. Cross-country variation persists in sector outcomes, however, and cannot be reduced to differences in institutions and policy. Denmark and Sweden have moved toward liberalization while Finland and Norway maintain commitments to social democracy and yet Finland and Sweden outperform Denmark and Norway in ICT sector development. Institutionalists explain the successes of Finland and Sweden through lighthouse effects, cluster dynamics, institutional adjustments, and policy initiatives, however there has been comparatively less research on the lagging countries of Denmark and Norway where none of the aforementioned conditions fully explain aggregate outcomes.

My analysis focuses on the underperformance of Denmark and Norway by identifying the role of intra-sectoral dualism in which institutions and policy favor certain firm types over others. The research indicates that limited liberal reforms in Denmark benefit startups and small firms through increased labor freedoms, risk-based financing, deregulation, and strong cluster dynamics. Conversely, the dismantling of institutional supports, organizational restructuring, and labor redundancies has eviscerated large incumbent firms. In Norway, statist social democratic institutions and innovation/technology policy entrench domestic incumbent firms through state ownership, regional protectionism, and extensive regulation. Startups and small firms are less successful due to crowding out in labor and financial markets, cluster fragmentation, and the lack of targeted sector supports. Taken together, Danish and Norwegian outcomes in ICT are lower on aggregate because institutions and policy favor certain firm types over others causing intra-sectoral dualism.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Keith Gehring

File size

321 p.

File format





International Relations