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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Economic sectors
Colin Clark
Jean Fourastié
Primary sector
(raw materials)
Secondary sector
Tertiary sector
Others suggested
Quaternary sector
Quinary sector
By ownership
Public sector
Private sector
Business sector
Voluntary sector

The quaternary sector of the economy is an extension of the three-sector hypothesis of industry. It principally concerns the following services: information generation, information sharing, consultation, education and research and development. It is sometimes incorporated into the tertiary sector but some argue that intellectual services are distinct enough to warrant a separate sector.

This sector evolves in well developed countries and requires a highly educated workforce.[citation needed]

The quaternary sector can be seen as the sector in which companies invest in order to ensure further expansion. Research will be directed into cutting costs, tapping into markets, producing innovative ideas, new production methods and methods of manufacture, amongst others. To many industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry, the sector is the most valuable because it creates future branded products which the company will profit from.

According to some definitions, the quaternary sector includes other pure services, such as the entertainment industry. There is also the notion of a "quinary Sector" which would encompass health, culture and research.

The quaternary sector consists of those industries providing information services, such as computing and ICT (information and communication technologies), consultancy (offering advice to businesses) and R&D (research, particular in scientific fields).

The quaternary sector is sometimes included with the tertiary sector, as they are both service sectors. Between them, the tertiary and quaternary sectors are the largest part of the UK economy, employing 76% of the workforce

See also


Andrew Norris

External links



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