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Innovation and Foreign Technology in Italy,1861-2011

  • Federico Barbiellini Amidei

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • John Cantwell

    ()

    (Rutgers University)

  • Anna Spadavecchia

    ()

    (University of Reading)

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

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) with number 07.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_7
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  1. Federico Barbiellini Amidei & Andrea Goldstein & Marcella Spadoni, 2010. "European acquisitions in the United States: re-examining Olivetti-Underwood fifty years later," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 2, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Federico,Giovanni, 1997. "An Economic History of the Silk Industry, 1830–1930," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521581981.
  3. Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel & Henderson, Rebecca, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-98, August.
  4. Antonelli, Cristiano & Marchionatti, Roberto, 1998. "Technological and Organisational Change in a Process of Industrial Rejuvenation: The Case of the Italian Cotton Textile Industry," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-18, January.
  5. Nelson, Richard R. & Sampat, Bhaven N., 2001. "Making sense of institutions as a factor shaping economic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 31-54, January.
  6. Pier Paolo Patrucco, 2005. "The emergence of technology systems: knowledge production and distribution in the case of the Emilian plastics district," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 37-56, January.
  7. Giuseppe Berta & Fabrizio Onida, 2011. "Old and new Italian multinational firms," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 15, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. Antonelli, Cristiano, 1989. "A failure-inducement model of research and development expenditure : Italian evidence from the early 1980s," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 159-180, October.
  9. John Cantwell, 1987. "The Reorganization of European Industries After Integration: Selected Evidence on the Role of Multinational Enterprise Activities," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 127-151, December.
  10. Giovanni Dosi & Keith Pavitt & Luc Soete, 1990. "The Economics of Technical Change and International Trade," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1990, August.
  11. Petra Moser, 2003. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World Fairs," NBER Working Papers 9909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mendonca, Sandro & Pereira, Tiago Santos & Godinho, Manuel Mira, 2004. "Trademarks as an indicator of innovation and industrial change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1385-1404, November.
  13. Russo, Margherita, 1985. "Technical change and the industrial district: The role of interfirm relations in the growth and transformation of ceramic tile production in Italy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 329-343, December.
  14. John Cantwell & John H Dunning & Sarianna M Lundan, 2010. "An evolutionary approach to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(4), pages 567-586, May.
  15. Nelson, Richard R, 1982. "The Role of Knowledge in R&D Efficiency," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 453-70, August.
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