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The development of Sweden's R&D-intensive electronics industries: exports, outsourcing, and territorial distribution


  • L Suarez-Villa
  • C Karlsson


Sweden's research-intensive electronics industries have thrived by developing export-market niches that rely greatly on continuous innovation and substantial expenditures in R&D. Over the past two decades, three R&D-intensive sectors (telecommunications equipment, electronic instruments, and computing-equipment manufacturing) have experienced a progressive territorial distribution, that has made them less reliant on the metropolitan concentration of the capital for their outsourcing and research arrangements. In this article we explore the relationship between R&D intensity, territorial distribution, subcontracting, and establishment performance in the R&D-intensive electronics industries. The export performance of these industries is considered first, along with its relationship with employment characteristics and territorial location. An analysis of the territorial distribution, and its relationship with establishment downsizing and subcontracting, provides insights on the significance of lower costs and higher R&D intensity for small-scale operations. Statistical analyses of R&D intensity and performance variables that include labour skills, plant size, production costs, fixed capital assets, and profitability, with establishment-level survey data, provide important insights on the effects of subcontracting and any spatial differences resulting thereof.

Suggested Citation

  • L Suarez-Villa & C Karlsson, 1996. "The development of Sweden's R&D-intensive electronics industries: exports, outsourcing, and territorial distribution," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(5), pages 783-817, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:28:y:1996:i:5:p:783-817

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    Cited by:

    1. Amnon Frenkel & Daniel Shefer & Knut Koschatzky & Gunter Walter, 2001. "Firm Characteristics, Location and Regional Innovation: A Comparison Between Israeli and German Industrial Firms," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 415-429.
    2. Bjerke, Lina & Karlsson, Charlie, 2009. "Metropolitan Regions and Product Innovation," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 166, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    3. Arita, Tomokazu & McCann, Philip, 2002. "The spatial and hierarchical organization of Japanese and US multinational semiconductor firms," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 121-139.
    4. Peter Sjoholt, 1998. "Outsourcing of services and regional impact on employment," ERSA conference papers ersa98p395, European Regional Science Association.

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