IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Dynamics of technology upgrading of the Central and East European countries in a comparative perspective: analysis based on patent data


  • Björn Jindra

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Iciar Dominguez Lacasa

    () (University of Bremen)

  • Slavo Radosevic

    (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies)


This working paper explores patterns of technology upgrading as a three-dimensional process which consists of (i) intensity of technology upgrading, (ii) structural change, and (iii) interaction with the global economy. The specificity of our report is that we depict patterns of technology upgrading by relying entirely on patent data. We derive patent indicators to capture the three dimensions. Patent indicators for intensity of technology upgrading trace technological capabilities at the technology frontier (transnational patents) and behind the technology frontier (domestic/resident direct applications to national offices). Structural change in technological knowledge is depicted by the share of transnational patent applications in high technology fields and knowledge-intensive activities and by calculating a technological diversification index. To capture interaction with global economy in the upgrading process indicators measure technological knowledge sourcing across countries and interactions between foreign and indigenous actors. Based on 7 patent indicators covering the three upgrading dimensions the comparative analysis focuses on EU27 and its subregions and on the BRICS countries. According to the results, in 2011 CEECs were quite homogenous in their upgrading paths. A typical CEE economy in 2011 is well behind EU12 in terms of frontier technology intensity, domestic technology intensity, share of high tech patents and technology sourcing abroad. Moreover, its organizational capabilities are often less advanced. The CEE profile is much less coherent in terms of technology diversification/specialization and share of joint inventions. However, differences among CEECs are not significant. Still there are some notable national features. Poland, Romania and Slovenia have above average domestic technological intensity which reflects partly their sizes (Romania and Poland) and specific model of innovation system reliant on domestic R&D intensive firms (Slovenia). Latvia and Lithuania are specific in terms of high share of HTKI patents. CEE technology upgrading as depicted by patents is within the BRIC pattern (with exception of China which in terms of technology upgrading has de facto delinked from BRICS). In the BRIC context, the CEE characterize very open innovation system with a high share of coinventions and foreign actors exploiting local inventions. This reveals weak organizational capabilities to commercialize its own inventions. According to the results CEE grew during 1990s/2008 based on production, not technological capability. Their future growth will increasingly depend on building technological capabilities at world frontier level. Our analysis shows that the basis for such growth exists only to a limited extent and that speed of upgrading towards world frontier activities is well beyond required for catching up. Equally, our analysis shows that solutions for improved technology upgrading will need to be found with their existing innovation model of small open economies integrated into the EU.

Suggested Citation

  • Björn Jindra & Iciar Dominguez Lacasa & Slavo Radosevic, 2015. "Dynamics of technology upgrading of the Central and East European countries in a comparative perspective: analysis based on patent data," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 135, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
  • Handle: RePEc:see:wpaper:2015:135

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Technology upgrading; Central Europe; Eastern Europe;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:see:wpaper:2015:135. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.