Closing the knowledge gap in Irish manufacturing - a north-south comparison
AbstractKnowledge, however defined, is perceived as firms "key" source of competitive advantage and a central determinant of productivity and wealth creation. The value of knowledge as a competitive asset is not intrinsic, but depends instead on its application, i.e. innovation or the transformation of knowledge into new technologies, products and, or services. Therefore, the extent of innovation within an economy depends crucially on the rapid diffusion of new technology and best practice, which it is argued depends in turn on building strong regional networks. So, knowledge, its distribution and diffusion - particularly through the supply chain - form the central focus of this paper. For some economies (e.g. Finland, Israel) with high levels of domestic R&D spending much of the ''new'' knowledge driving local business competitiveness is created domestically. For Ireland, both North and South, however, historically low levels of domestic R&D spending mean that inward technology transfer - primarily associated with inward investment - has been crucial to recent economic development. This suggests two main questions. First, how does the knowledge transferred to Ireland, North and South, through international inward investment compare to international best practice? And, second, to what extent does this knowledge then diffuse to other manufacturing businesses located in Ireland? A third, and related, question concerns the contrasting experiences of Ireland, North and South, particularly given the very different history of inward investment in the two areas. The analysis in the paper is based on data collected through face-to-face interviews with 94 Multi-national enterprise (MNE) plants in the South and North of Ireland. The relatively high response rates achieved and the fact that the final sample coverage resembles relatively closely that of the underlying population suggests that the sample is likely to provide results which are representative of the whole population of large MNE plants in both the South and North of Ireland. The research findings demonstrate that the potential to transfer knowledge from MNE plants to local firms through the supply chain is higher in the South of Ireland than in the North. Yet, Northern suppliers' adoption of a range of best practice techniques lags further behind their MNE plants than in the South. Therefore, larger average knowledge gaps suggest a greater potential benefit from knowledge transfers in the North of Ireland. Yet, while general contact as part of normal trading relations between MNE plants and their suppliers is more common in the North, contact in the South of Ireland is characterised by developmental interactions such as collaboration on product developments and quality assurance systems. Furthermore, southern MNE plants report having had a significantly greater impact on both the performance and the competitiveness of local suppliers than their Northern counterparts.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa02p382.
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Augasse 2-6, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Web page: http://www.ersa.org
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mansfield, Edwin & Romeo, Anthony, 1980. "Technology Transfer to Overseas Subsidiaries by U.S.-Based Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 737-50, December.
- Luc Anselin, 2000. "Geographical Spillovers and University Research: A Spatial EconometricPerspective," Growth and Change, Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, vol. 31(4), pages 501-515.
- Stephen Young & Ping Lan, 1997. "Technology Transfer to China through Foreign Direct Investment," Regional Studies, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 31(7), pages 669-679.
- Gorg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2001. "Multinational Companies and Productivity Spillovers: A Meta-analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(475), pages F723-39, November.
- Griliches, Zvi, 1992.
" The Search for R&D Spillovers,"
Scandinavian Journal of Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages S29-47, Supplemen.
- Nola Hewitt-Dundas & Bernadette Andreosso-O'callaghan & Mike Crone & John Murray & Stephen Roper, 2005. "Selling global, buying local? What determines the sourcing patterns of multinational plants in Ireland?," Regional Studies, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 225-239.
- Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1994. "R&D Spillovers and Recipient Firm Size," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 336-40, May.
- Kearns, A & Ruane, F, 1999.
"The Tangible Contribution of R&D Spending Foreign-Owned Plants to a Host Region: a Plant Level Study of the Irish Manufacturing Sector (1980-1996),"
Trinity Economics Papers
997, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
- Kearns, Allan & Ruane, Frances, 2001. "The tangible contribution of R&D-spending foreign-owned plants to a host region: a plant level study of the Irish manufacturing sector (1980-1996)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 227-244, February.
- Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-40, June.
- Holger Görg & Frances Ruane, 2000. "An Analysis of Backward Linkages in the Irish Electronics Sector," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(3), pages 215-235.
- Crone, Mike & Roper, Stephen, 1999. "Knowledge Transfers from Multi-national Plants in Northern Ireland," ERSA conference papers ersa99pa053, European Regional Science Association.
- Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1992. "Real Effects of Academic Research: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 363-67, March.
- Tan, B. W., 1990. "Using the supplier relationship to develop the support industry," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 151-158.
- Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-70, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.