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Innovation performance and embeddedness in networks: evidence from the Ethiopian footwear cluster

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  • Gebreeyesus, Mulu

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT)

  • Mohnen, Pierre

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)

Abstract

This study focuses on innovation in a cluster of informal shoemaking firms in Ethiopia - namely the Mercato footwear cluster. It examines how differently those firms are embedded in networks and how heterogeneous they are in absorptive capacity, and how this heterogeneity affects their innovation performance. Business interactions with buyers, suppliers and other producers are the major channels through which knowledge flows into the cluster. These business networks are mainly built on trust and long-term relationships and tend to be selective. The study reveals that despite homogeneity in social background the firms in the cluster behave and perform differently. Based on econometric analysis we document a positive and strong effect of local network position and absorptive capacity on innovation performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 043.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011043

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Keywords: industrial clusters; networks; innovation performance; informal sector; Africa; Ethiopia;

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References

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  1. Marcel Fafchamps & Bart Minten, 2000. "Returns to Social Network Capital among Traders," Development Working Papers 145, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
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  7. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-85, March.
  8. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  9. Giuliani, Elisa & Bell, Martin, 2005. "The micro-determinants of meso-level learning and innovation: evidence from a Chilean wine cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 47-68, February.
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Cited by:
  1. NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2013. "Honesty, Diligence, and Skill: Risk Sharing and Specialization in the Kiryu Silk Weaving Cluster, Japan," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f166, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 03 Jun 2014.
  2. Iizuka, Michiko, 2013. "Innovation systems framework: still useful in the new global context?," MERIT Working Papers 005, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Szirmai, Adam & Gebreeyesus, Mulu & Guadagno, Francesca & Verspagen, Bart, 2013. "Promoting productive employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review of the literature," MERIT Working Papers 062, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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