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Innovation in New Zealand: Issues of Firm Size, Local Market Size and Economic Geography

In this paper we report empirical evidence from a mixed methods approach to investigating the drivers of innovation in New Zealand. The evidence comes from a primary questionnaire survey we conducted across seventy-five local firms plus fifteen face-to-face case study interviews. Our survey response data is analysed using four different types of probability models and the various models are all found to be largely consistent with each other. The insights from these estimation methods are then bolstered by detailed follow-up case studies of individual firms in different industries and product groups regarding their innovation and competition experiences. Our results from both forms of evidence-gathering suggest that in a small and isolated local market such as New Zealand, smallness in terms of firm size may not be an advantage for innovation. The reason appears to be that the notion of ‘small’ itself may have an absolute minimum threshold, below which translating entrepreneurship into innovation becomes problematic. As such, applying theories of local economic development to local economies which exhibit similar features to New Zealand may require us to adjust our thinking in order to take account of different absolute scale effects in different types of economies.

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File URL: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/RePEc/cbt/econwp/0904.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 09/04.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:09/04
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  1. Philip McCann, 2009. "Economic geography, globalisation and New Zealand's productivity paradox," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 279-314.
  2. Ron Crawford & Richard Fabling & Arthur Grimes & Nick Bonner, 2007. "National R&D and Patenting: Is New Zealand an Outlier?," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 69-90.
  3. Roper, Stephen & Hewitt-Dundas, Nola, 2008. "Innovation persistence: Survey and case-study evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 149-162, February.
  4. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-90, September.
  5. Fabling, Richard & Grimes , Arthur, 2006. "Practice Makes Profit: Business Practices and Firm Success," Occasional Papers 06/1, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.
  6. Lewis Evans & Arthur Grimes & Bryce Wilkinson, 1996. "Economic Reform in New Zealand 1984-95: The Pursuit of Efficiency," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1856-1902, December.
  7. Zoltán J. à cs, 2002. "Innovation and the Growth of Cities," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2656.
  8. David Law & Nathan McLellan, 2005. "The Contributions from Firm Entry, Exit and Continuation to Labour Productivity Growth in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 05/01, New Zealand Treasury.
  9. Tether, B. S. & Smith, I. J. & Thwaites, A. T., 1997. "Smaller enterprises and innovation in the UK: the SPRU innovations database revisited," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 19-32, March.
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