This paper charts trends in industrial policy in high-income economies in the post-1945 period. Three distinct phases are identified. The first covers the post-war reconstruction period and extends to the end of the 1970s. Here, a number of governments took major initiatives in funding or supporting new or dynamic activities with the aim of catching up with the US in terms of productivity levels or in easing the adjustment of declining sectors. The second is from the start of the 1980s to around the mid-2000s. The more interventionist version of IP was abandoned in favour of policies of privatization, market liberalization, and competition. In the last ten years, attitudes have shifted. The current model in high-income economies at or close to the technology frontier is based on the premise that growth must be innovation-driven as this provides the basis for long-term competitiveness.
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