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The Dynamics of Technology in Industrial Countries



We employ a distribution dynamics approach to examine the empirical dynamics of technological specialisation in industrial countries. Using patent data, distributions of a specialisation index and Markov stochastic kernels are estimated non-parametrically for each country. Three are the main findings. There are strong country size effects: economically “large” countries spread their innovation activities across a wider range of technologies and display a higher degree of persistence. Mobility is nevertheless high. Mobility is also asymmetric: it appears mostly difficult for a country to improve the specialisation level in very disadvantaged technologies, while high comparative advantages in technologies show a fairly general tendency to revert towards lower specialisation levels. These findings cast doubt on the theory of technological accumulation and path-dependence, hence on its implication of persistence in national patterns of industrial specialisation and on the effectiveness of targeted industrial and technology policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Luisa Mancusi, 2000. "The Dynamics of Technology in Industrial Countries," KITeS Working Papers 118, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Nov 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp118

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Distribution dynamics; General Markov chains; Revealed comparative advantage; Technological change;

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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