Electronic Library of Scientific Literature
Volume 44 / No. 10 / 1996
The transformation of the national innovation system in Slovakia and
its results could briefly be characterised as follows: the transformation
has not evolved favourably since 1989. Therefore, a number of actions are
needed to improve NIS performance and management in the middle of the 1990s:
1. The R&D effort is at he core of the NIS, even though R&D is not synonymous with innovative activity. A sustained R&D effort is necessary to creation of a knowledge-intensive economy and to supporting Slovak efforts to enlarge its share of world-class science. Obviously, the Slovak Government's target of reaching 2.5 per cent of GDP by the end of the 1990s should be therefore maintained, and budget allocations needed to achieve this goal should be guaranteed.
2. Among the persistent problems, one for which a satisfactory solution should be found quickly, is the need to establish an efficient and effective structure for innovation policy institutions. This state of affairs finds its root in the very foundation of the post-socialist society in Slovakia, which is concerned about egalitarian distribution among all its members. This inevitably has repercussions: principle among them are the lack of long-term focus and the scattering of resources over large number of innovative activities of sub-critical size.
3. The Government's support to innovation should be better focused and co-ordinated. To this end, a national innovation strategy should be established and implemented, so as to provide a clear, medium-term framework for all concerned actors. Related to a clear view of Slovakia`s economic and technological development, this strategy should define national goals, key innovation areas for priority support (including major programmes).
4. The Slovak Government should support public and academic research more selectively, with support going to strategic research that can be exploited by local industry, to teams and individuals rated as outstanding by international standards.
5. With respect to government sector R&D institutes, continued efforts need to be made to improve their efficiency and ability to respond to the needs of the Slovak economy. More generally, it is not advisable to remove responsibility for government sector institutes from their sponsoring ministries. At the same time, it is a good thing that institution responsible for R&D has been explicitly given a role to play in determining their budgets, research programmes and evaluation.
6. As regards higher education sector, there are concerns about the financing higher education sector. Therefore, it would be advisable that all departments that seek to maintain international standards divide the budget allocation equally between education and research. Industry funding of higher education sector seems excessively low and should be increased wit appropriate tax incentives.
7. The national innovation effort will bear fruit all the more readily if the right framework conditions exist in the economy as a whole - in terms of fiscal and tax system, trade and competition regulations, information infrastructure, development of human resources and so on. However, such a strategic effort should not lead to supporting innovation in specific industrial branches.
8. To sum up, Slovakia can only be a respected partner in international co-operation, if it has its own strong home base and if its national innovation system is attractive for partners beyond its borders.
At first glance, after six years of transformation, the overall institutional structure of the Slovak R&d system seems to have change only a little - in addition to the previous four sectors (Slovak academy of Sciences, higher education R&D, ministeries R&D and enterprises research units), private research organizations have been created, but their share on the global national R&D potential is negligible. But in fact, apart from a very obvious reduction of the staff number of the R&D personnel, particularly of the enterprises research laboratories, very important changes have occured in the the working of the system enhancing the initiative activities and the independency of communities of the research units. The changes have led to the liquidation of the very rigid and inadequate control of the research institutions. More incentive forms of funding were introduced, freedom withnin scientific community has brought assurances, international contacts have grown rapidly, whilst the grant system of funding has had a positive impact on the productivity of research. On the other hand the scientific community badly feels the need for a thouhful conception of national R&D policy and the requirement of laws for the proper working of the R&D system. It is not clear where exactly the process of transition will lead, but a continuance of the status quo achieved up to this day constitutes a real threat of disintegration of the Slovak R&D system, when the staff potential is now approximately the third of the 1988 figure number. Some suggestions of improvement of the situation are proposed at the end of the article.
Social security system in the Slovak Republic has been undergoing a
series of major reforms since the beginning of transition. Because of its
key importance for maintaining social peace, the social reform has ben
proceeding only gradually and some of the major steps still have to come.
The presented study is aimed at the possibility of evaluating conceptual reforms of the system on the basis of SOCPROG model which has been developed by the author in order to model the basic pension insurance framework in SR.
The growth of pension expenditures in terms of GDP shares has been slow over the period of 1991-1995 and it was mostly caused by the increasing number of claimants and the decreasing economic activity of the productive age population.
The long-term perspective for the solvency of pension insurance fund is discussed from several points of view. Demographic prognoses forecast a favourable development of the so-called dependency ratio (the ratio of post-productive to productive age population) in the short-run and a prolonged deterioration of the ratio after the year of 2005. Changes in some of the key parameters of the pension insurance scheme (for example, collection rate, contribution rates, retirement age, etc.) could alleviate the solvency problem in the future. The optimal timing of the reforms and the choice of particular set of measures depends not only on the current economic conditions and demographic development but mainly on the future ones. Therefore, in the last section of the study, brief results of simulation in SOCPROG model are presented to illustrate the modeling pos-sibilities regarding the solvency of the social insurance fund.
During the economic transformation, the Slovak economy came closer to
sectoral structure of the economy of the developed countries of the European
Union. The share of services both in employement and in GDP increased and
the share of all the production sectors decreased proportionally. The increase
of GDP was, to the large extent, due to the increase of the value added
in services. To a certain extent it is questionable if such a development
creates favourable preconditions for further acceleration of economic growth
in the next period of time.
In industry, different performance of individual sectors in foreign markets led to the outstanding increase of share of the sectors with a lower rate of value added and extraordinarily dependent upon import of raw materials, energy and semi-products. The increasing production of these industries which enabled a more rational utilization of the disposable production factors and so to obtain increasing returns to scale resulted also in gradual improvement of parameters of their efficiency in the years of 1994 and 1995. It seems to be possible to expect that the production structure in the given group of sectors will gradually change into a more sofisticated and obviously even more diversified one. This direction of the structural move in industry may be taken for one of three major trends.
The second direction - and it should be mostly supported by industrial policy - is marked by overcoming the backwardness felt in those industrial sectors that are oriented towards a more sophisticated production but, because of different reasons, they are not able to make themselves felt not only in foreign markets but in domestic markets as well, and even to a greater extent. This structural move tendency must also admit that some of the production units are not perspective any more.
For the third trend of structural move in industry, which is inevitable for further development of the economy, may be taken the establishment of some new production units in cooperation with great international companies. These companies should play in the economy a role of certain new development poles which would positively influence even the further industrial branches or even services, namely by their external effects revealed.
In the last quarter of the 20 th century the terms of disequilibrium
and adaptation may be regarded as the most frequently used socio-economic
categories. At the same time the two categories are the basic categories
that interpret and grasp all the economic phenomena in the most complex
The inevitability of the study and application of adaptation processes has never been so urgent as in the 70s, 80s and 90s of this century, that is to say in times of deep disequilibriums, deformations and shocks.
In the developed countries the business sphere is the basic subject of adaptation processes and mechanisms. If the firms are adaptable and efficient, the whole economy is adaptable and efficient to the same extent.
The paper presented describes the genesis of economic activities and motive powers of business development in the developed countries and presents an outline of selected indicators and business diagnosis techniques and some adaptation measures taken on the level of an enterprise as well.
The main part of the paper is formed by the section devoted to adaptation of the business sphere in the Slovak economy transformation.
Under the conditions of restructuring the economy of the Slovak republic, of re-profiling its institutions, of renesance of economic tools and re-qualification of its man-power, which form basic problems raised by enormous social move in this country, the study of disequilibrium and adaptation mechanisms is very actual. It seems to be a pity that neither in our theory nor in practice the indicated basic economic categories are given an appropriate attention and are "superimposed" by transformation problems and - which is even the worse case - often by various pseudo-problems and "child's diseased".
After the economic reform, started in 1989, it seemed to be clear that all the barriers opposing and damping the immediate impact of stimulations, both negative and positive, coming from outside of the economy, will sease soon.
In the conclusion of the paper the author indicates the barriers and reserves in formation of business environment in the Slovak republic.