The Mining Sectors in Chile and Norway, ca. 1870–1940: The Development of a Knowledge Gap

Kristin Ranestad

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    Chile and Norway are two ‘natural resource-intensive economies’, which have had different development trajectories, yet are closely similar in industrial structure and geophysical conditions. This paper seeks to contribute to the debate about how and why some economies based on natural resource activities have been more dynamic and innovative than others by indicating contributing factors of key differences in one natural resource sector both countries developed, namely mining. I explore how comparable knowledge organizations developed knowledge and how they help to understand differences in development. More knowledge was developed and accumulated in Norway than in Chile, which indicates that there was a knowledge gap between the two countries. Mining instructions were similar, but there were striking differences when it came to (1) number of graduates, (2) number of travel arrangements for practical learning and (3) organised geological mapping and ore surveys. These differences contribute to explain the emerging gap of the two sectors, which in turn may be linked to the role of the state. In Norway, the state was much more active in supporting knowledge development through funding of education, scholarships and the National Geological Survey. In Chile, these key knowledge organizations were given lower priority by political decision-makers.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInnovation and Development
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)147-165
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


    • Natural intensive economies
    • Mining
    • Innovation
    • Mining education
    • Technical education
    • Knowledge organizations

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