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The Dynamics of Technology in Industrial Countries

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Abstract

We employ a distribution dynamics approach to examine the empirical dynamics of technological specialisation in industrial countries. Using patent data, distributions of a specialisation index and Markov stochastic kernels are estimated non-parametrically for each country. Three are the main findings. There are strong country size effects: economically “large” countries spread their innovation activities across a wider range of technologies and display a higher degree of persistence. Mobility is nevertheless high. Mobility is also asymmetric: it appears mostly difficult for a country to improve the specialisation level in very disadvantaged technologies, while high comparative advantages in technologies show a fairly general tendency to revert towards lower specialisation levels. These findings cast doubt on the theory of technological accumulation and path-dependence, hence on its implication of persistence in national patterns of industrial specialisation and on the effectiveness of targeted industrial and technology policies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 118.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2000
Date of revision: Nov 2000
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp118

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Keywords: Distribution dynamics; General Markov chains; Revealed comparative advantage; Technological change;

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  1. Mary Amiti, 1999. "Specialization patterns in Europe," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 135(4), pages 573-593, December.
  2. Geweke, John & Marshall, Robert C & Zarkin, Gary A, 1986. "Mobility Indices in Continuous Time Markov Chains," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1407-23, November.
  3. Quah, Danny, 1993. " Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(4), pages 427-43, December.
  4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Malerba, Franco, 1992. "Learning by Firms and Incremental Technical Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(413), pages 845-59, July.
  6. Danny Quah, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0280, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Aggregate and Regional Disaggregate Fluctuations," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 137-59.
  8. Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel & Henderson, Rebecca, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-98, August.
  9. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1045-55, July.
  10. Danny Quah, 1992. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 75, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Archibugi, Daniele & Pianta, Mario, 1994. "Aggregate Convergence and Sectoral Specialization in Innovation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 17-33, March.
  13. Proudman, J. & Redding, S., 1998. "Evolving Patterns of International Trade," Economics Papers 144, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  14. Keller, Wolfgang, 2001. "Geographic Localization of International Technology Diffusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 2706, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. M. Amiti, 1997. "Specialisation patterns in Europe," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20321, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. Danny Quah, 1996. "Aggregate and regional disaggregate fluctuations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2081, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Cefis, Elena & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2001. "The persistence of innovative activities: A cross-countries and cross-sectors comparative analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1139-1158, August.
  18. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
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  20. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
  21. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-70, December.
  22. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-24, September.
  24. Archibugi, Daniele & Pianta, Mario, 1992. "Specialization and size of technological activities in industrial countries: The analysis of patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 79-93, February.
  25. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  26. Quah, Danny T, 1996. " Convergence Empirics across Economies with (Some) Capital Mobility," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 95-124, March.
  27. Jonathan Eaton & Robert Evenson & Samuel Kortum & Poorti Marino & Jonathan Putnam, 1998. "Technological Specialization in International Patenting," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 81, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  28. Proudman, James & Redding, Stephen J, 1998. "Persistence and Mobility in International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 1802, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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