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Are There High-tech Industries or Only High-tech Firms? Evidence from New Technology-based Firms

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  • Baldwin, John R.
  • Gellatly, Guy

Abstract

Considerable attention has been directed at understanding the structural changes that are generating an increased need for skilled workers. These changes are perceived to be the result of developments associated with the emergence of the new knowledge economy, whose potential is often linked to the growth of new technology-based firms (NTBFs). Where are these firms to be found? Related work on changes in technology and innovativeness has been accompanied by the creation of taxonomies that classify industries as high-tech or high-knowledge, based primarily on the characteristics of large firms. There is a temptation to use these taxonomies to identify new technology-based firms only within certain sectors. This paper uses a special survey that collected data on new firms to argue that this would be unwise. The paper investigates the limitations of existing classification schemes that might be used to classify industries as high- or low-tech, as advanced or otherwise. Characteristically unidimensional in scope, many of these taxonomies employ conceptual and operational measures that are narrow and incomplete. Consequently, previous rankings that identify sectors as high- or low-tech using these measures obscure the degree of innovativeness and human capital formation exhibited by certain industries. In a policy environment wherein emotive 'scoreboard' classifications have direct effects on resource allocation, the social costs of misclassification are potentially significant. Using a comparative methodology, this study investigates the role that conceptualization plays in devising taxonomies of high- and low-tech industries. Far from producing definitive classifications, existing measures of technological advancement are found to be wanting when their underpinnings are examined closely. Our objective in the current analysis is to examine the limitations of standard classification schemes, particularly when applied to new small firms, and to suggest an alternative framework based on a competency-model of the firm.

Suggested Citation

  • Baldwin, John R. & Gellatly, Guy, 1998. "Are There High-tech Industries or Only High-tech Firms? Evidence from New Technology-based Firms," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998120e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:1998120e
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Baldwin, John R., 1999. "A Portrait of Entrants and Exits," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999121e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Cohen, Wesley M. & Levin, Richard C., 1989. "Empirical studies of innovation and market structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 18, pages 1059-1107 Elsevier.
    3. Samuel Hollander, 1965. "The Sources of Increased Efficiency: A Study of DuPont Rayon Plants," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026258235x, January.
    4. Baldwin, John R. & Dupuy, Richard & Picot, Garnett, 1994. "Have Small Firms Created a Disproportionate Share of New Jobs in Canada? A Reassessment of the Facts," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1994071e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    5. Klepper, Steven, 1996. "Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 562-583, June.
    6. Baldwin, John R., 1997. "The Importance of Research and Development for Innovation in Small and Large Canadian Manufacturing Firms," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1997107e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Baldwin,John R. & Gorecki,Paul, 1998. "The Dynamics of Industrial Competition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521633574, December.
      • Baldwin,John R. & Gorecki,Paul With contributions by-Name:Caves,Richard E. With contributions by-Name:Dunne,Tim With contributions by-Name:Haltiwanger,John, 1995. "The Dynamics of Industrial Competition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521465618, March.
    8. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-863.
    9. Baldwin, John R. & Raffiquzzaman, Mohammed, 1998. "The Effect of Technology and Trade on Wage Differentials Between Nonproduction and Production Workers in Canadian Manufacturing," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998098e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    10. Klepper, Steven & Miller, John H., 1995. "Entry, exit, and shakeouts in the United States in new manufactured products," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 567-591, December.
    11. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-653, September.
    12. Baldwin, John R. & Diverty, Brent & Sabourin, David, 1995. "Technology Use and Industrial Transformation: Empirical Perspectives," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1995075e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gellatly, Guy & Peters, Valerie, 2000. "Understanding the Innovation Process: Innovation in Dynamic Service Industries," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2000127e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Gellatly, Guy, 2000. "Differences in Innovator and Non-innovator Profiles: Small Establishments in Business Services," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2000143e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. Erik Stam & Karl Wennberg, 2009. "The roles of R&D in new firm growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 77-89, June.
    4. Beckstead, Desmond & Gellatly, Guy, 2004. "Are Knowledge Workers Found Only in High-technology Industries?," The Canadian Economy in Transition 2004005e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis Division.
    5. Godin, Benoit, 2004. "The obsession for competitiveness and its impact on statistics: the construction of high-technology indicators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1217-1229, October.
    6. Baldwin, John R. & Yates, Janice, 1999. "Innovation, Training and Success," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999137e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Baldwin, John R. & Beckstead, Desmond, 2003. "Knowledge Workers in Canada's Economy, 1971 to 2001," Insights on the Canadian Economy 2003004e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis Division.
    8. Baldwin, John R., 1999. "A Portrait of Entrants and Exits," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999121e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    9. Beckstead, Desmond & Vinodrai, Tara, 2003. "Dimensions of Occupational Changes in Canada's Knowledge Economy, 1971-1996," The Canadian Economy in Transition 2003004e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis Division.
    10. Chowhan, James, 2005. "Who Trains? High-tech Industries or High-tech Workplaces?," The Canadian Economy in Transition 2005006e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis Division.
    11. Crick, Dave & Spence, Martine, 2005. "The internationalisation of 'high performing' UK high-tech SMEs: a study of planned and unplanned strategies," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 167-185, April.

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