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Exploring factors affecting international technological specialization: the role of knowledge flows and the structure of innovative activity


  • Franco Malerba


  • Fabio Montobbio



We define international technological specialisation (ITS) as the technological performance of a country in a specific technology relative to its overall international technological performance. This paper uses patent applications and patent citations at the European Patent Office for five countries (US, UK, Italy, France, Germany) from 1989 to 1994 for 135 technological classes in three industrial sectors (Chemicals, Electronics and Machinery). It shows that ITS is significantly persistent and is affected by the direction of cross-sectoral knowledge spillovers within countries. In addition, the paper shows that the concentration of innovative activities, the emergence of new innovators and technological co-operation positively affect ITS. Some differences across sectors emerge. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2003

Suggested Citation

  • Franco Malerba & Fabio Montobbio, 2003. "Exploring factors affecting international technological specialization: the role of knowledge flows and the structure of innovative activity," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 411-434, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:13:y:2003:i:4:p:411-434 DOI: 10.1007/s00191-003-0162-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Consoli & Dioni Elche, 2013. "The evolving knowledge base of professional service sectors," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 477-501, April.
    2. Consoli, Davide & Rentocchini, Francesco, 2015. "A taxonomy of multi-industry labour force skills," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 1116-1132.
    3. Fabio Montobbio & Valerio Sterzi, 2011. "Inventing together: exploring the nature of international knowledge spillovers in Latin America," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 53-89, February.
    4. Davide Consoli & Francesco Vona & Francesco Rentocchini, 2016. "That was then, this is now: skills and routinization in the 2000s," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(5), pages 847-866.
    5. Fulvio Castellacci, 2007. "Technological regimes and sectoral differences in productivity growth ," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(6), pages 1105-1145, December.
    6. Franco Malerba & Fabio Montobbio, 2004. "Structural Change in Innovative Activities in Four Leading Sectors. An Interpretation of the Stylized Facts," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 55(6), pages 1051-1070.
    7. Fulvio Castellacci & Jinghai Zheng, 2010. "Technological regimes, Schumpeterian patterns of innovation and firm-level productivity growth," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(6), pages 1829-1865, December.
    8. Costantini, Valeria & Liberati, Paolo, 2014. "Technology transfer, institutions and development," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 26-48.
    9. Montobbio, Fabio & Rampa, Francesco, 2005. "The impact of technology and structural change on export performance in nine developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 527-547, April.
    10. Riad Jawel Bouklia-Hassane, 2014. "Les Déterminants de la Productivité des Inventeurs : Une Analyse en Termes de Diversité et de Cohérence de la Base de Connaissances," Working Papers 1421, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    11. Emanuele Bacchiocchi & Fabio Montobbio, 2010. "International Knowledge Diffusion and Home-bias Effect: Do USPTO and EPO Patent Citations Tell the Same Story?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(3), pages 441-470, September.
    12. Fabio Montobbio & Valerio Sterzi, 2014. "International patenting and knowledge flows in Latin America," Chapters,in: Intellectual Property for Economic Development, chapter 9, pages 213-239 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Castellacci, Fulvio, 2006. "The interactions between national systems and sectoral patterns of innovation: a cross-country analysis of Pavitt’s taxonomy," MPRA Paper 27601, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. repec:spr:scient:v:112:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2378-y is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Keld Laursen, 2015. "Revealed comparative advantage and the alternatives as measures of international specialization," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(1), pages 99-115, June.
    16. Jan de Kok & O Som & P Neuhäusler, 2014. "The impact of the 2008 financial crisis on European enterprises: the role of innovation systems," Scales Research Reports H201411, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    17. Castellacci, Fulvio, 2008. "Innovation and the competitiveness of industries: comparing the mainstream and the evolutionary approaches," MPRA Paper 27523, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Park, Tae-Young & Choung, Jae-Yong & Min, Hong-Ghi, 2008. "The Cross-industry Spillover of Technological Capability: Korea's DRAM and TFT-LCD Industries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2855-2873, December.
    19. Urraca-Ruiz, Ana, 2013. "The ‘technological’ dimension of structural change under market integration," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 1-18.
    20. Riccardo Cappelli & Fabio Montobbio, 2016. "European Integration and Knowledge Flows across European Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(4), pages 709-727, April.
    21. Franco Malerba & Maria Mancusi & Fabio Montobbio, 2013. "Innovation, international R&D spillovers and the sectoral heterogeneity of knowledge flows," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(4), pages 697-722, December.
    22. Muscio, Alessandro & Nardone, Gianluca & Stasi, Antonio, 2012. "Perceived Technological Regimes: An Empirical Analysis of the Apulian Wine Industry," 2012 International European Forum, February 13-17, 2012, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 144969, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.
    23. Rinaldo Evangelista & Valeria Mastrostefano, 2006. "Firm size, sectors and countries as sources of variety in innovation," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 247-270.
    24. Corrocher, Nicoletta & Malerba, Franco & Montobbio, Fabio, 2007. "Schumpeterian patterns of innovative activity in the ICT field," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 418-432, April.
    25. Blom, Martin & Castellacci, Fulvio & Fevolden, Arne, 2012. "Defence firms facing liberalization: innovation and export in an agent-based model of the defence industry," MPRA Paper 35702, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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