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Weightless Machines and Costless Knowledge An Empirical Analysis of Trade and Technology Diffusion

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Author Info

  • Giorgio Barba Navaretti

    (University of Ancona; Centro Studi Luca d´Agliano; Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

  • Isidro Soloaga

    (Inter- American Development Bank; University of Maryland College Park)

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of imported technologies on productivity for a sample of developing and transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Southern Mediterranean. These economies are getting more and more integrated to the European Union. The paper departs from earlier studies of international technology diffusion as it focuses on the technology embodied in the machines imported. Earlier works had mostly focussed on spillovers of foreign R&D conveyed through trade, without controlling for the characteristics of the goods imported. The paper jointly estimates the choice of foreign technology and its impact on domestic productivity for a set of manufacturing sectors. The technological level of the machines imported is proxied by an index relating the unit value of the machines imported by a given country to the unit value of the same machines imported by the US. The paper finds a constant and even increasing gap between the unit value of the machines imported by the US and the machines imported by our sample of developing countries. It shows that this gap is significantly persistent and that it is higher the lower the level of GDP of the importing country. The empirical analysis also finds that productivity growth in manufacturing depends positively on the type of machines imported in a given industry. Consequently, although the choice of developing countries to buy cheaper and less sophisticated machines is optimal, given relative factor prices and their endowments of technology, this choice has a cost in terms of long run productivity growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 154.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2001
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Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:154

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Cited by:
  1. Meschi, Elena & Vivarelli, Marco, 2009. "Trade and Income Inequality in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 287-302, February.
  2. Paolo Epifani, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Firm Performance and Labor Market Outcomes in the Developing World What Can We Learn From Micro-Level Data?," KITeS Working Papers 138, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Feb 2003.
  3. Habiyaremye, Alexis & Ziesemer, Thomas, 2008. "Export Demand Elasticities as Determinants of Growth: Estimates for Mauritius," MERIT Working Papers 072, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  4. MacDonald, Ronald & Majeed, Muhammad Tariq, 2010. "Distributional and Poverty Consequences of Globalization: A Dynamic Comparative Analysis for Developing Countries," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-62, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  5. Habi Yaremye, Alexis, 2008. "Economic Proximity and Technology Flows: South Africa?s Influence and the Role of Technological Interaction in Botswana?s Diversification Effort," Working Paper Series RP2008/92, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Li, Yao Amber, 2013. "Borders and Distance in Knowledge Spillovers: Dying Over Time or Dying with Age? - Evidence from Patent Citations," MPRA Paper 53528, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Alexis Habiyaremye, 2013. "Imported Capital Goods and Manufacturing Productivity: Evidence from Botswana's Manufacturing Sector," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(4), pages 581-604, December.
  8. Meschi, Elena & Vivarelli, Marco, 2007. "Globalization and Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 2958, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Alexis Habiyaremye & Thomas H. W. Ziesemer, 2012. "Export demand elasticities and productivity as determinants of growth: estimates for Mauritius," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(9), pages 1143-1158, March.
  10. Eric Rasmusen, 2007. "A Reputation Model of Quality in North-South Trade," Working Papers 2007-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.

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