Knowledge sourcing and firm performance in an industrializing economy: The case of Taiwan (1992-2003)
We examine the impact of R&D and technology imports on firm performance in Taiwan’s manufacturing industry in a policy context of industrial upgrading. To do so, we estimate a Translog production function on two panels (covering 1992-1995 and 1997-2003), using stochastic frontier models. We find that the effects of both knowledge inputs become significant in a larger number of industries in the second panel. These results suggest that the policies encouraging innovation implemented from 1991 onwards paid off in the second half of the 1990s, with innovation driving firm sales. In traditional industries, the effect of innovation can be interpreted as an effort to catch up with the global technology frontier. In the electronics and high-technology industries, it rather testifies of the emergence of a new domain of specialization for Taiwan – which was largely enabled by the aforementioned innovation policies.
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