Do Exporting Firms in the People’s Republic of China Innovate?
This paper assesses factors driving firm-level export performance in Asia’s super exporter—The People’s Republic of China (PRC). While early studies suggested that innovation was important, there has been little research on opening up the black box of technology at firm-level in the PRC, the author undertakes econometric analysis of innovation, learning, and exporting in automobiles and electronics firms in the PRC using a large-scale dataset to identify the most appropriate innovation proxy. Drawing on recent literature on innovation and learning in developing countries, it tests two alternative proxies: (i) a technology index (TI) to capture a variety of minor activities involved in using imported technologies efficiently; and (ii) the research and development (R&D)-to-sales ratio, which represents formal technological efforts to create new products and processes, often at world frontiers.
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