Characteristics of innovating firms in Tunisia: The essential role of external knowledge sources
This article is dedicated to the analysis of the first innovation survey of the Tunisian firms. Starting from basic mechanisms of innovation processes and existing results on other developing countries, we test a set of assumptions on the characteristics of innovating firms in a developing country like Tunisia. The analysis of product and process innovations shows the essential role played by external technical knowledge sources: firms must be able to benefit at least from one such a source in order to attain a significant innovation propensity. We also show that the profile of Tunisian firms can be contrasted with other developing countries. The main contrast concerns the limited role of internal R&D and the insignificant role played by foreign participation. For both types of innovations, another important contrasting result concerns the role of sectoral membership. In Tunisia, this dimension does not seem to structure enough systematically the innovative capabilities of firms. That could indicate an immaturity of sectoral systems of innovations in this country.
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