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National Intellectual Capital. A comparison of 40 countries

Yeh-Yun Lin, C. & Edvinsson, L. National Intellectual Capital. A comparison of 40 countries. Springer, New York, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-4419-7376-4. Pages: 392.

National Intellectual Capital takes as its point of departure the notion that a “new economic landscape is emerging based on intangibles, or an evolution toward Knowledge”. Yet, despite movements on many levels and by many national and international actors to get a handle on how to measure, map and leverage the intangibles that are linked to the creation of competitive economies, generalised development and well-being for societies, many gaps in understanding exist.  This volume therefore recognises a need for “both a new perspective and new metrics for mapping” what the authors refer to as intellectual capital (IC). IC is defined here as “’intellectual material – knowledge, information, intellectual property, experience – that can be put to use to create wealth’ (Stewart 1997) and functions as the roots for future earning capabilities (Edvinsson and Malone 1997)”. The book then puts forth an original National Intellectual Capital Index for 40 countries (NICI40), which aims to compare and rank these nations by an analysis of data related to five key areas of “capital”: human, market, process, renewal, and financial.  While not focused overtly on higher education, by working to address question of what exactly intangible assets are and the roles they play in national development and well-being around the world, this book touches on many compelling issues with strong connections to research and the higher education enterprise.