The Knowledge Economy, Economic Transformations and ICT: Regional Dynamics in the Deployment Phase. Case study: Southern and Eastern Ireland
Ireland has been one of the global economic success stories of the last 20 years. National income rose from less than 65% of the EU15 average in the mid 1980s to well above parity today. Ireland is also the most FDI-intensive economy in Europe. Section A of the present report provides an analysis of the rapid economic development of the “Celtic Tiger” era and how Ireland’s status as a successful export platform for foreign Multinational Corporations was achieved. Though the production structure of the economy is heavily weighted towards (largely foreign-owned) high-technology and ICT-using industries, the country lags behind in terms of personal ICT use. The remainder of Section A presents regional and national data on ICT production and diffusion across the economy. The main focus of the report in on the more advanced Southern and Eastern region of the two NUTS II regions into which the country is divided. The indigenous software sector, the emergence and growth of which is the subject of Section B, is very heavily clustered in this region. Section B charts the role played by the foreign-owned high-tech ICT-using sectors in seeding this ICT-producing cluster and provides details of the types of state interventions that emerged through a process of trial and error to support the cluster. The conclusions presented in Section C reflect on the implications of the case study for the roles that FDI and different types of knowledge spillovers can play in the emergence of a knowledge-intensive cluster and on the types of policies that can play a role in assisting its evolution.
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