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Simulating the prospects of technological catching up

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  • José Castro Caldas
  • Manuel Mira Godinho
  • Ricardo Pais Mamede

Abstract

Local increasing returns associated with static and dynamic scale effects, knowledge spillovers, polarisation effects and the distance that separates different regions are among the most important driving forces behind the dynamics of economic and technological convergence. This paper puts forward a computational simulation model that seeks to integrate these factors. The modelling exercise was designed to achieve a better understanding of the relationship between the aspects underlying the specific trajectories of regional technological accumulation and the aggregate convergence/divergence patterns stemming from these trajectories. Analysis of the simulation’s results allows us to draw several conclusions. Firstly, it is shown that the opportunities for interaction and the resulting knowledge spillovers are a necessary but not sufficient condition for convergence. Moreover, up to a certain point, an increase in the opportunities for interaction between regions may lead to further divergence. Secondly, when spatial friction in the interactions is either relatively low or high, regions which could be “losers” for a given initial distribution of technological capabilities may become “winners” for another one (“history matters”). Conversely, for intermediate levels of spatial friction leading to central polarisation, history is largely irrelevant – irrespective of the initial space distribution of technological capability and sequence of chance events, a polarised centre-periphery pattern emerges. Finally, when spatial distance imposes high friction on interactions between regions, and when they do not have to be very similar in their levels of technological capabilities in order to learn from each other, regions in the core of “continental masses” benefit in terms of increased technological capability (“space matters”).

Suggested Citation

  • José Castro Caldas & Manuel Mira Godinho & Ricardo Pais Mamede, 2005. "Simulating the prospects of technological catching up," Working Papers Department of Economics 2005/12, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp122005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Jan Fagerberg & Bart Verspagen & Marjolein Caniëls, 1997. "Technology, Growth and Unemployment across European Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 457-466.
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    9. Aadne Cappelen & Jan Fagerberg & Bart Verspagen, 1999. "Lack of regional convergence," Working Papers Archives 1999001, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    10. M. V. Posner, 1961. "International Trade And Technical Change," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 323-341.
    11. Verspagen, Bart & Maurseth, Per Botolf, 1998. "Knowledge Spillovers in Europe and its Consequences for Systems of Innovation," Working Papers 98.1, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. José Afonso Mendes & Sandra T. Silva & Ester G. Silva, 2014. "Portuguese economic growth revisited: a technology-gap explanation," FEP Working Papers 545, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

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