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The potential for innovation is an important factor in maintaining competitiveness and economic growth in a high-tech economy. However, innovation is only a necessity and not in itself sufficient for an economy to remain competitive in a global context in the face of high labour costs. New products and improved methods of production must quickly assert themselves as broadly as possible for a positive economic development. This means that national policy should not only stimulate innovation but must also ensure its efficient diffusion. In addition to private sector marketing strategies, state legislation and public procurement programs, standardisation by non-government standards bodies, such as DIN, is a suitable instrument for disseminating new ideas, products and technologies.
This part of the study presents the first economic analysis of the interaction between technological change and standardisation, and the implications for the German economy and foreign trade.
With its broad-based dual approach, this study produced numerous new insights into the economic effects of standardisation, giving results which are unique in the international context. However, despite the fact that the authors gained a clearer understanding of the significance of standardisation, a number of questions remain unanswered. Because of restrictions in time and funding, it was not possible to examine specific branches in the necessary detail. Although the comparisons with Austria and Switzerland added a European dimension to the study, further research outside Central Europe would be an important extension of the work begun here. To summarise, this study has made considerable progress in a fundamental analysis of the economic significance of standardisation, while at the same time opening the door for future research.
The results of the study can be used as the basis for a strategic discussion regarding the future of standards work. All those who are directly or indirectly affected by standards now have access to information which can help them define their future standardisation strategies. First, DIN and other standards bodies can use the study’s results to identify areas which could be improved in order to respond to current developments, and those areas with which their customers are satisfied. Furthermore, the interested parties now have a broad overview of the different effects of standardisation and can use this knowledge to shape their strategies. Overall, the study can act as long-term motivation for a strategic discussion of the future of standardisation.
Results of the macroeconomic analysis show the economic benefits of standardisation to be approximately 1% of the German gross national product.