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Technological Revolutions, Structural Change & Catching-Up

Author

Listed:
  • Jan Fagerberg

    (TIK, University of Oslo & UNU-MERIT)

  • Bart Verspagen

    (UNU-MERIT)

Abstract

Technological revolutions, i.e., clusters of technologies that collectively have a transformational impact on the global economy, are rare events that dramatically influence the opportunities facing countries at different levels of development. A central suggestion in the relevant literature is that countries that manage to adopt the new technologies associated with a specific technological revolution benefit economically from it. This is also assumed to go together with a changing specialization pattern in international trade. The paper considers the empirical merits of these suggestions, drawing on GDP and trade data for a large number of countries on different levels of development from the post-second-world-war period. The empirical analysis reveals a major divide in the global economy between a group of modern, industrialized countries, specialized in technology-based production, and another group of countries, specialized in commodities and resource-based products, and lagging behind both in terms of technology and income. More to the future, the paper also discusses the extent to which a new green technological revolution, with renewable energy as a central element, is currently emerging, and what impact this possibly might have for catching-up, structural change and economic growth for countries at different levels of development, e.g., China.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Fagerberg & Bart Verspagen, 2020. "Technological Revolutions, Structural Change & Catching-Up," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20200423, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tik:inowpp:20200423
    as

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    File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/tik/InnoWP/tik_working_paper_20200423.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jan Fagerberg & Staffan Laestadius & Ben R. Martin, 2016. "The Triple Challenge for Europe: The Economy, Climate Change, and Governance," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(3), pages 178-204, May.
    2. Jan Fagerberg, 2016. "Innovation Systems and Policy: A Tale of Three Countries," Stato e mercato, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 13-40.
    3. Wilson, Charlie, 2012. "Up-scaling, formative phases, and learning in the historical diffusion of energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 81-94.
    4. Fagerberg, Jan & Laestadius, Staffan & Martin, Ben R. (ed.), 2015. "The Triple Challenge for Europe: Economic Development, Climate Change, and Governance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198747413.
    5. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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