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The effect of technological innovation on international trade


  • Márquez-Ramos, Laura
  • Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada


In this paper, the effect of technological innovation on sectoral exports is analysed using a gravity model of trade. The technological achievement index (TAI) and its four components, creation of technology, diffusion of old innovations, diffusion of recent innovations and human skills, are used as proxies for technological innovation. The two first components are considered proxies for knowledge acquisition and assimilation (potential absorptive capacity), whereas the last two are taken as proxies for knowledge transformation and exploitation (realised absorptive capacity). We hypothesise that the effect of technological innovation on trade could vary according to the technological achievement by generating a non-linear relationship between technological innovation and trade. Our findings indicate a positive and non-linear effect of technological innovation on export performance, which indicates that there are thresholds for positive signs to occur. To foster exports, countries have to consider not only acquisition and assimilation capabilities, but also transformation and exploitation capabilities once a minimum level of potential absorptive capacity has been achieved.

Suggested Citation

  • Márquez-Ramos, Laura & Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada, 2010. "The effect of technological innovation on international trade," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 4, pages 1-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:201011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon Kuznets, 1962. "Inventive Activity: Problems of Definition and Measurement," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 19-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Archibugi, Daniele & Coco, Alberto, 2004. "A New Indicator of Technological Capabilities for Developed and Developing Countries (ArCo)," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 629-654, April.
    3. Fink, Carsten & Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina, 2005. "Assessing the impact of communication costs on international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 428-445, December.
    4. Alan Deardorff, 1998. "Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity Work in a Neoclassical World?," NBER Chapters,in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 7-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Loungani, Prakash & Mody, Ashoka & Razin, Assaf, 2002. "The Global Disconnect: The Role of Transactional Distance and Scale Economies in Gravity Equations," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 526-543, December.
    6. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
    7. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert E. Lipsey & Haiyan Deng & Alyson C. Ma & Hengyong Mo, 2005. "World Trade Flows: 1962-2000," NBER Working Papers 11040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Patrik Gustavsson Tingvall & Andreas Poldahl, 2006. "Is there really an inverted U-shaped relation between competition and R&D?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 101-118.
    9. Filippini, Carlo & Molini, Vasco, 2003. "The determinants of East Asian trade flows: a gravity equation approach," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 695-711, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Márquez-Ramos, Laura & Martínez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada & Suárez-Burguet, Celestino, 2012. "Trade policy versus trade facilitation: An application using good old OLS," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-38.

    More about this item


    Technological innovation; international trade; gravity model; potential and realised absorptive capacity;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General


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