The Institutions-Innovation Dilemma: the Case of Coastal Fisheries

Manuel Gonzalez Lopez


This paper explores into the relationship between institutions and innovations at coastal fishing activities. It is said that institutions favor innovation because they give rise to the necessary stability for fluid knowledge exchanges and learning processes. Nevertheless, at the same time, innovation implies breaking or altering routines and behaviors, i.e. to alter institutions. We try to clarify in which conditions existing institutions may foster innovation or, on the contrary, hinder it. For this purpose we have analyzed the case of a natural resource based sector, the coastal fishing sector in Galicia (Spain). Our findings indicate that a given institutional arrangement can give rise at the same time to positive and negative factors affecting innovation. Moreover, when dealing with major innovations, not only the institutions shaping production relationships must be altered but also the way the sector organizes innovation, i.e. the innovation system itself must change.


Coastal fishing, systems of innovation, institutions.

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