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Innovation and Foreign Technology in Italy,1861-2011

Author

Listed:
  • Federico Barbiellini Amidei

    (Bank of Italy)

  • John Cantwell

    (Rutgers University)

  • Anna Spadavecchia

    (University of Reading)

Abstract

The paper explores the long run evolution of Italy's performance in technological innovation as a function of international technology transfer, reconstructing the different phases and dimensions of Italian innovative activity, tracking the transfer of foreign technological knowledge through a number of channels, analysing the impact of imported technology. The study is based on a newly constructed dataset, over the 1861-2009 period, composed of variables related to: innovation activity performance; foreign technology transfer; domestic absorptive and innovative capability. The analysis highlights, also by econometric assessment, the significant contribution of foreign technology both to innovation activity results and to productivity growth. Differences across channels of technology transfer and historical phases emerge, also in connection with the evolution of human capital endowment and domestic innovative capacity. Machinery imports contributed positively both to innovation activity and to productivity growth; inward FDI contributed positively to productivity growth, but not to indigenous innovation activity; the accumulation of technical human capital fuelled both. In the long Italian Golden Age, for the first time the association of foreign technological knowledge with indigenous innovation processes strengthened productivity significantly. More recently instead the dismal productivity growth is negatively associated with formalised innovation activity under-performance and reduced imports of disembodied technology

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Barbiellini Amidei & John Cantwell & Anna Spadavecchia, 2011. "Innovation and Foreign Technology in Italy,1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 07, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Makiko Hino & Mototsugu Fukushige, 2014. "Catching up and falling behind in technological progress: the experience of the textile and chemical industries in Italy between 1904 and 1937," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-14, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Giordano, Claire & Giugliano, Ferdinando, 2015. "A tale of two Fascisms: Labour productivity growth and competition policy in Italy, 1911–1951," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 25-38.
    3. Nascia, Leopoldo & Pianta, Mario, 2018. "Research and innovation policy in Italy," MPRA Paper 89510, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Romano, Livio, 2019. "Explaining growth differences across firms: The interplay between innovation and management practices," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 130-145.
    5. Carlo Ciccarelli & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2014. "Technical Change, Non-Tariff Barriers, and the Development of the Italian Locomotive Industry, 1850-1913," LEM Papers Series 2014/23, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    6. Stefano Lucarelli & Roberto Romano, 2016. "The Italian Crisis within the European Crisis. The Relevance of the Technological Foreign Constraint," World Economic Review, World Economics Association, vol. 2016(6), pages 1-12, February.
    7. Paolo DI Martino & Michelangelo Vasta, 2014. "Discovering the dark heart of Italian capitalism: a perspective from Supreme Court legal cases and business consultants’ analyses (1950s-1970s)," Department of Economics University of Siena 698, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Italy; Technology Transfer; Innovation; Absorptive Capability; Patenting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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