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High-Tech Exports from Developing Countries: A Symptom of Technology Spurts or Statistical Illusion?

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  • Martin Srholec

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Abstract

Specialization in high-tech products is frequently used to capture technology intensity of exports. The literature suggests that developing countries are increasingly becoming exporters of high-tech products, and some may even be among the most deeply specialized countries in the field of high-tech exports. The paper scrutinizes the relevance of the taxonomies that classify exports by technological intensity in this context. It is shown that specialization in high-tech exports typically does not appear in tandem with indigenous technological capabilities in developing countries. The analysis of intra-product imports suggests that the bulk of high-tech exports can actually be attributed to the effect of increasingly international fragmentation of production systems in electronics on trade statistics. It is confirmed in an econometric framework that while domestic technological capabilities have some influence on export performance in electronics, it is the propensity to import electronics components that accounts for by far the largest proportion of cross-country differences in specialization in electronics exports. The paper concludes with some implications for policy and future research.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of World Economics.

Volume (Year): 143 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 227-255

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Handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:143:y:2007:i:2:p:227-255

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Related research

Keywords: High-tech exports; fragmentation; intra-product trade;

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References

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  1. Robert Feenstra, 2003. "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Working Papers 986, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Pari Patel & Keith Pavitt, 1991. "Large Firms in the Production of the World’s Technology: An Important Case of “Non-Globalisation”," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 22(1), pages 1-21, March.
  3. Mike Hobday, 2003. "Innovation in Asian Industrialization: A Gerschenkronian Perspective," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 293-314.
  4. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  5. Thomas Hatzichronoglou, 1997. "Revision of the High-Technology Sector and Product Classification," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 1997/2, OECD Publishing.
  6. Archibugi, Daniele & Coco, Alberto, 2004. "A New Indicator of Technological Capabilities for Developed and Developing Countries (ArCo)," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 629-654, April.
  7. John Cantwell & Simona Iammarino, 1998. "MNCs, Technological Innovation and Regional Systems in the EU: Some Evidence in the Italian Case," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 383-408.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Sanjaya Lall, Manuel Albaladejo and Jinkang Zhang (QEH), . "Mapping Fragmentation: Electronics and Automobiles in East Asia and Latin America," QEH Working Papers qehwps115, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  10. Anna Kadeřábková & Martin Srholec, 2001. "Structural changes in transitive economies," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2001(4).
  11. Jan Fagerberg, 1996. "Competitiveness, Scale and R&D," Working Papers Archives 1996545, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  12. Boy Luthje, 2002. "Electronics Contract Manufacturing: Global Production and the International Division of Labor in the Age of the Internet," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 227-247.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Török, Ádám, 2009. "Társadalomtudományi tények és természettudományos módszerek
    [Social scientific facts and natural scientific techniques]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1067-1087.
  2. Fu, Dahai & Wu, Yanrui & Tang, Yihong, 2010. "Does innovation matter for Chinese hightech exports? a firm-level analysis," MPRA Paper 30012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Richard Woodward & Elzbieta Wojnicka & Wojciech Pander, 2012. "Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurship and Opportunities in Two Polish Industries," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 440, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  4. Marek Rojíček, 2010. "Competitiveness of the Trade of the Czech Republic in the Process of Globalisation," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2010(2), pages 147-165.
  5. Martin Borowiecki & Bernhard Dachs & Doris Hanzl-Weiss & Steffen Kinkel & Johannes Pöschl & Magdolna Sass & Thomas Christian Schmall & Robert Stehrer & Andrea Szalavetz, 2012. "Global Value Chains and the EU Industry," wiiw Research Reports 383, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  6. Srholec, Martin & Verspagen, Bart, 2008. "The Voyage of the Beagle in Innovation Systems Land.Explorations on Sectors, Innovation, Heterogeneity and Selection," MERIT Working Papers 008, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  7. Fagerberg, Jan & Srholec, Martin & Knell, Mark, 2007. "The Competitiveness of Nations: Why Some Countries Prosper While Others Fall Behind," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1595-1620, October.
  8. Klimis Vogiatzoglou, 2009. "Determinants of Export Specialization in ICT Products: A Cross-Country Analysis," Working Papers 2009.3, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
  9. Edinaldo Tebaldi, 2011. "The Determinants of High-Technology Exports: A Panel Data Analysis," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(4), pages 343-353, December.

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