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Technological infrastructure and international competitiveness

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  • C. Freeman

Abstract

The paper is probably the first written paper using the concept of 'the national innovation system' and it analyses how technological infrastructure differs between countries and how such differences are reflected in international competitiveness. It makes a critical review of new (in the 1980s) developments in the theory of international trade and confronts them with recent empirical results. It shows how competitiveness cannot be explained by wage rates-prices-currency rates. Technological leadership gives absolute rather than comparative advantage and technological leadership will reflect institutions supporting coupling, creating, clustering comprehending and coping in connection with technology. The analysis is rooted in historical context through references to Friedrich List and his criticism of Adam Smith and laissez-faire. Special emphasis is put on List's concept of mental capital. Finally, the analytical arguments are illustrated by the catching-up and forging ahead of first Germany and later Japan. The paper concludes that disequilibria in international trade will be persistent and that for laggard economy the free trade doctrine may be unduly restrictive. Another conclusion is that public investment in technological infrastructure and intellectual capital is crucial for successful economic development. It is pointed out that there is a need to couple education, science, trade and industry policy in order to build competitiveness. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Freeman, 2004. "Technological infrastructure and international competitiveness," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 541-569, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:13:y:2004:i:3:p:541-569
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bengt-Åke Lundvall, 2007. "Innovation System Research – Where it came from and where it might go," Globelics Working Paper Series 2007-01, Globelics - Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems, Aalborg University, Department of Business and Management.
    2. Castellacci, Fulvio & Natera, Jose Miguel, 2013. "The dynamics of national innovation systems: A panel cointegration analysis of the coevolution between innovative capability and absorptive capacity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 579-594.
    3. Lehrer, Mark & Nell, Phillip & Gärber, Lisa, 2009. "A national systems view of university entrepreneurialism: Inferences from comparison of the German and US experience," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 268-280, March.
    4. Manuel Mira Godinho & Sandro F. Mendonça & Tiago Santos Pereira, 2005. "Towards a taxonomy of innovation systems," Working Papers Department of Economics 2005/13, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    5. repec:eee:intman:v:23:y:2017:i:3:p:242-254 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Yang, Hyeonchae & Jung, Woo-Sung, 2016. "Structural efficiency to manipulate public research institution networks," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 21-32.
    7. Ben R. Martin, 2016. "Twenty challenges for innovation studies," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 432-450.
    8. Montanari de Matos, Murilo & Robles Reis de Queiroz, Sergio, 2013. "Technological and market capabilities and competitiveness in the Brazilian computer industry:a case study," MPRA Paper 67151, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Soete, Luc & Verspagen, Bart & ter Weel, Bas, 2010. "Systems of Innovation," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    10. Ying Zhou & Sukanlaya Sawang & Xiaohua Yang, 2016. "Understanding The Regional Innovation Capacity In China After Economic Reforms," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(06), pages 1-36, August.
    11. Lehrer, Mark & Nell, Phillip & Gärber, Lisa, 2007. "A National Systems View of University Development: Towards a Broadened Perspective on the Entrepreneurial University Based on the German and US Experience," Kiel Working Papers 1370, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    12. Sharif, Naubahar, 2006. "Emergence and development of the National Innovation Systems concept," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 745-766, June.
    13. Fatas-Villafranca, Francisco & Jarne, Gloria & Sanchez-Choliz, Julio, 2009. "Industrial leadership in science-based industries: A co-evolution model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 390-407, October.
    14. Hu, Mei-Chih & Kang, Jin-Su & Wu, Ching-Yan, 2017. "Determinants of profiting from innovation activities: Comparisons between technological leaders and latecomers," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 223-236.
    15. Nuvolari, Alessandro & Vasta, Michelangelo, 2015. "The Ghost in the Attic? The Italian National Innovation System in Historical Perspective, 1861–2011," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 270-290, June.
    16. repec:spr:scient:v:91:y:2012:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0653-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Lundvall , Bengt-Åke & Vang , Jan & Joseph , KJ & Chaminade , Cristina, 2013. "Bridging Innovation System Research and Development Studies: challenges and research opportunities," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/33, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    18. Magdalena Olczyk, 2016. "A systematic retrieval of international competitiveness literature: a bibliometric study," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 6(3), pages 429-457, December.
    19. Hawkins, Richard & Langford, Cooper H. & Saunders, Chad, 2015. "Assessing the practical application of social knowledge: A survey of six leading Canadian Universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 83-95.

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