ISSUE: 3/2023

  • Volume 27
  • Number 3
  • 2023


Studia Europejskie –
Studies in European Affairs

ISSN: 1428-149X
e-ISSN: 2719-3780

Ccbync License


Articles published in the journal are under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivatives 4.0 International License

Innovation Potential in the Western Balkans Relative to the European Union and Selected Neighbouring Countries


Although Western Balkan economies are still on the list of EU candidates or potential candidate countries, they do have some integration with EU economies. The EU is the leading trading partner of the Western Balkans and is one of the top destinations for the fl ow of people. The Western Balkan economies have been trying to address their populations’ ongoing emigration (the so-called “brain drain” phenomenon) by implementing targeted economic policies. Since one of the main contributors to economic growth is the ability to create innovation, it is crucial to building innovation potential. The main challenge for innovation policy is to provide a favourable environment for entrepreneurship and economic growth to create jobs. Thus, this paper aims to examine innovation potential – an innovation input – as it creates the conditions needed for innovation development. The results of analysing the data (on research and development spending, human resources, an environment friendly to innovation, and intellectual property rights) indicate that the Western Balkan countries are lagging behind the EU in many aspects of innovation potential, so they should still develop their strategies towards creating higher innovation potential. Thus, they will be able to have a higher level of innovation and, as a result, be more competitive in economic terms.


Adams, R., Jeanrenaud, S., Bessant, J., Denyer, D. and Overy, P. (2016) “Sustainability-oriented Innovation: A Systematic Review”, International Journal of Management Reviews. Vol. 18(2), pp. 180–205. DOI:

Ali, A., Kelley, D.J. and Levie, J. (2020) “Market-driven entrepreneurship and institutions”, Journal of Business Research. Vol. 113, pp. 117–128. DOI:

Ambroziak, A.A. (2016) “Recent Changes and Developments in State Aid for Research, Development and Innovation in the European Union”. Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs. Vol. 20(4), pp. 73–94.

Archibugi, D. and Iammarino, S. (1999) “The policy implications of the globalisation of innovation”, Research Policy. Vol. 28(2), pp. 317–336. DOI:

Boden, M. and Miles I. (eds.) (2000) Services and the Knowledge-Based Economy. Routledge.

Bozic, L. and Botric, V. (2017) “Innovation investment decisions: Are post (transition) economies different from the rest of the EU?”, Eastern Journal of European Studies. Vol. 8(2), pp. 25–43.

Buerger, M., Broekel, T. and Coad, A. (2012) “Regional Dynamics of Innovation: Investigating the Co-evolution of Patents, Research and Development (R&D), and Employment”, Regional Studies. Vol. 46(5), pp. 565–582. DOI:

Cavdar, S.C. and Aydin, A.D. (2015) “An Empirical Analysis about Technological Development and Innovation Indicators”, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Vol. 195, pp. 1486–1495. DOI:

Crescenzi, R., Pietrobelli, C. and Rabellotti, R. (2014) “Innovation drivers, value chains and the geography of multinational corporations in Europe”, Journal of Economic Geography. Vol. 14(6), pp. 1053–1086. DOI:

Cvetanovic, S., Despotović, D., Mladenović, I. and Jovović, D. (2014) “The analysis of innovation in Western Balkan countries in 2012”. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja. Vol. 27(1), pp. 830–846. DOI:

Cvetanović, S., Panić, A.A. and Kostić, A. (2021) „National Innovation Capacity and Economic Progress of Countries”, Economic Themes. Vol. 59(3), pp. 297–314. DOI:

Dedehayir, O., Mäkinen, S.J. and Roland Ortt, J. (2018) “Roles during innovation ecosystem genesis: A literature review”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 136, pp. 18–29. DOI:

DeSai, J. (2013) Innovation Engine: Driving Execution for Breakthrough Results. John Wiley & Sons.

Despotovic, D.Z., “Cvetanović, S.Ž. and Nedić, V.M. (2014) “Innovativeness and Competitiveness of the Western Balkan Countries and Selected EU Member States”, Industrija. Vol. 42(1), Article 1. DOI:

Gomes, L.A. de V., Facin, A.L.F., Salerno, M.S. and Ikenami, R.K. (2018) “Unpacking the innovation ecosystem construct: Evolution, gaps and trends”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 136, pp. 30–48. DOI:

Grieveson, R., Grübler, J. and Holzner, M. (2018) Western Balkans EU Accession: Is the 2025 Target Date Realistic? (Research Report 22).

Policy Notes and Reports. Available at: (Access 23.07.2023).

Griffiths, M.D., Gundry, L., Kickul, J. and Muñoz Fernandez, A. (2009) “Innovation ecology as a precursor to entrepreneurial growth: A cross-country empirical investigation”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. Vol. 16(3), pp. 375–390. DOI:

Gupta, S., Kumar, V. and Karam, E. (2020) “New-age technologies-driven social innovation: What, how, where, and why?”, Industrial Marketing Management. Vol. 89, pp. 499–516. DOI:

Hekkert, M.P., Suurs, R.A.A., Negro, S.O., Kuhlmann, S. and Smits, R.E.H.M. (2007) “Functions of innovation systems: A new approach for analysing technological change”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 74(4), pp. 413–432. DOI:

Hicks, D., Breitzman, A., Sr, Hamilton, K. and Narin, F. (2000) “Research excellence and patented innovation”, Science and Public Policy. Vol. 27(5), pp. 310–320. DOI:

Hinloopen, J. (2003) “Innovation performance across Europe”, Economics of Innovation and New Technology. Vol. 12(2), pp. 145–161. DOI:

Janger, J., Schubert, T., Andries, P., Rammer, C. and Hoskens, M. (2017) “The EU 2020 innovation indicator: A step forward in measuring innovation outputs and outcomes?”, Research Policy. Vol. 46(1), pp. 30–42. DOI:

Jusufi, A. (2023) “Relationship Between Innovation and Financial Performance in The Global Environment of Exporting Companies”, Journal of Liberty and International Affairs. Vol. 9(2), Article 2. DOI:

Kourtit, K., Nijkamp, P. and Stough, R.R. (2011) Drivers of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Regional Dynamics. Springer Science & Business Media. DOI:

Lee, Y.-N. (2015) “Evaluating and extending innovation indicators for innovation policy”, Research Evaluation. Vol. 24(4), pp. 471–488. DOI:

Lin, J.Y. (2011) “New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development”, The World Bank Research Observer. Vol. 26(2), pp. 193–221. DOI:

Lomachynska, I. and Podgorna, I. (2018) „Innovation Potential: Impact on the National Economy’s Competitiveness of the EU Developed Countries”. Baltic Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 4(1), Article 1. DOI:

Mairesse, J. and Mohnen, P. (2010) Using Innovations Surveys for Econometric Analysis (working paper 15857). National Bureau of Economic Research. DOI:

Mazzanti, M., Tapia, C. and Pegoraro, A. (2020) “Innovative local policy instruments enabling sustainable innovation: Benchmarking worldwide best practices”, Argomenti. Vol. 16, Article 16. DOI:

Melville, N.P. (2010) “Information Systems Innovation for Environmental Sustainability”. MIS Quarterly, Vol. 34(1), pp. 1–21. DOI:

Morillo, F., Bordons, M. and Gómez, I. (2003) “Interdisciplinarity in science: A tentative typology of disciplines and research areas”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Vol. 54(13), pp. 1237–1249. DOI:

Mueller, K. and Peters, B. (2010) Churning of R&D Personnel and Innovation, SSRN Scholarly Paper 1622715. DOI:

Nauwelaers, C. and Reid, A. (1995) “Methodologies for the evaluation of regional innovation potential”, Scientometrics. Vol. 34(3), pp. 497–511. DOI:

Noh, H. and Lee, S. (2020) “What constitutes a promising technology in the era of open innovation? An investigation of patent potential from multiple perspectives”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 157, Article 120046. DOI:

Oh, C. (2020) “Discursive Contestation on Technological Innovation and the Institutional Design of the UNFCCC in the New Climate Change Regime”, New Political Economy. Vol. 25(4), pp. 660–674. DOI:

Okubo, Y. (1997) Bibliometric Indicators and Analysis of Research Systems: Methods and Examples. OECD. DOI:

Pavitt, K. (2005) “Patent statistics as indicators of innovative activities: Possibilities and problems”, Scientometrics. Vol. 7(1–2), pp. 77–99. DOI:

Rogers, M. (1998) The Defi nition and Measurement of Innovation. Melbourne Institute working paper no. 10/98. Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. Available at: (Access 23.07.2023).

Sahlberg, P. (2006) “Education Reform for Raising Economic Competitiveness”, Journal of Educational Change. Vol. 7(4), pp. 259–287. DOI:

Sanfey, P., Milatovic, J. and Kresic, A. (2016) How the Western Balkans Can Catch Up. SSRN Scholarly Paper 3119685. DOI:

Santos, F.M. (2012) “A Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship”, Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 111(3), pp. 335–351. DOI:

Sondermann, D. (2018) “Towards more resilient economies: The role of well-functioning economic structures”, Journal of Policy Modeling. Vol. 40(1), pp. 97–117. DOI:

Taylor, M.Z. (2004) “Empirical Evidence Against Varieties of Capitalism’s Theory of Technological Innovation”, International Organization. Vol. 58(3), pp. 601–631. DOI:

Valitov, S.M. and Khakimov, A.Kh. (2015) “Innovative Potential as a Framework of Innovative Strategy for Enterprise Development”, Procedia Economics and Finance. Vol. 24, pp. 716–721. DOI:

Whalen, R., Lungeanu, A., DeChurch, L. and Contractor, N. (2020) “Patent Similarity Data and Innovation Metrics”, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Vol. 17(3), pp. 615–639. DOI:

Language: English

Pages: 143-156

How to Cite:


Grodzicki, T. (2023) "Innovation Potential in the Western Balkans Relative to the European Union and Selected Neighbouring Countries". Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs, 3-2023, pp. 143-156. DOI: 10.33067/SE.3.2023.8