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State, Competition and Industrial Change in Ireland 1991-1999

  • Séan Ó Riain

    (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

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    As job losses increased rapidly in 2003 amid calls for increased competitiveness, it becomes all the more crucial to understand the character and causes of such industrial upgrading that did occur in Ireland in the 1990s. This paper argues that despite a continuing reliance on foreign investment, there were significant elements of local industrial upgrading within the Irish economy in the 1990s. Contrary to perspectives which emphasise the learning effects associated with foreign firms, the paper suggests that such upgrading only emerged when and where local and national institutions were established to support relations of innovation and organisational development. The current difficulties in the Irish economy can be traced in significant part to the failure to deepen and extend this emergent system of innovation. The emphasis on ‘competitiveness’ in contemporary policy debate threatens to undermine the public investment, social relations and collective institution building that have been, and will continue to be, central to industrial upgrading in Ireland.

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    Article provided by Economic and Social Studies in its journal Economic and Social Review.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 27-53

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    Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:35:y:2004:i:1:p:27-53
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    1. Mary O'Sullivan, 2000. "The sustainability of industrial development in Ireland," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 277-290.
    2. de la Fuente, Angel & Vives, Xavier, 1997. "The Sources of Irish Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1756, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Görg, Holger & Strobl, Eric, 2002. "Multinational Companies and Indigenous Development: An Empirical Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 3325, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. O'Malley, Eoin, 1998. "The revival of Irish Indigenous Industry 1987-1997," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 1998(2-April).
    5. Görg, H & Ruane, F, 1999. "Globalisation and Fragmentation: Evidence from the Electronics Industry in Ireland," Trinity Economics Papers 9911, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    6. Cerny, Philip G., 1995. "Globalization and the changing logic of collective action," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 595-625, September.
    7. Eoin O’Malley & Chris van Egeraat, 2000. "Industry Clusters and Irish Indigenous Manufacturing - Limits of the Porter View," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 55-79.
    8. Lundvall, Bengt-Ake & Johnson, Bjorn & Andersen, Esben Sloth & Dalum, Bent, 2002. "National systems of production, innovation and competence building," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 213-231, February.
    9. Hobday, Mike, 1995. "East Asian latecomer firms: Learning the technology of electronics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 1171-1193, July.
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