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The Evolution of Manufacturing Technology and its Impact on Industrial Structure: An International Study

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  • Carlsson, Bo

    (Case Western Reserve University)

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    Abstract

    This paper shows that plant and firm size in manufacturing, and especially in engineering industry, in several Western industrial countries has declined since the early 1970s. Two hypotheses explaining the decline are advanced. One is "de-glomeration" or specialization: the divestiture of non-core businesses in order to free up scarce resources (particularly management time) to defend and nurture core business activities. The second hypothesis is that the emergence of new computer-based technology has improved the quality and productivity of small and medium scale production relative to standardized mass-production techniques which dominated previously.

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    File URL: http://www.ifn.se/wfiles/wp/wp203.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 203.

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    Length: 46 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 1988
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0203

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    Related research

    Keywords: Manufacturing; specialisation; firm scope; technological progress;

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    References

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    1. Shepherd, William G, 1982. "Causes of Increased Competition in the U.S. Economy, 1939-1980," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 613-26, November.
    2. Carlsson, Bo, 1984. "The development and use of machine tools in historical perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 91-114, March.
    3. Mills, David E & Schumann, Laurence, 1985. "Industry Structure with Fluctuating Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 758-67, September.
    4. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1987. "Innovation, Market Structure, and Firm Size," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 567-74, November.
    5. Ravenscraft, David J & Scherer, F M, 1987. "Life after Takeover," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 147-56, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gamal Atallah, 2002. "Production Technology, Information Technology, and Vertical Integration Under Asymmetric Information," Working Papers 0203EClassification-JEL: , University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.

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