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The middle-technology trap: The case of the automotive industry in Turkey

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  • Akçomak, Ibrahim Semih

    () (TEKPOL, Middle East Technical University)

  • Bürken, Serkan

    () (TEKPOL, Middle East Technical University)

Abstract

This paper argues that Turkey has fallen into a middle-technology trap on the borders of a weak innovation system (IS) and strong global value chains (GVCs). Detailed information from a primary R&D and innovation funding agency is used to show that the technological characteristics of the funded automotive R&D and innovation projects remained reasonably stable between 1995 and 2011. This result is cross-validated with two qualitative designs on beneficiary firms and automotive industry experts. The qualitative designs aided in identifying three mechanisms that explain how the Turkish automotive industry has fallen into a middle-technology trap. Analysis at the project, firm, and expert levels indicate that despite extensive upgrading and learning in manufacturing, the automotive industry has failed to build innovation capabilities. Turkey's delegated role in the automotive GVC, the joint venture (JV) structure and the lack of complementarities collectively work in creating a trap that impedes further technological development.

Suggested Citation

  • Akçomak, Ibrahim Semih & Bürken, Serkan, 2019. "The middle-technology trap: The case of the automotive industry in Turkey," MERIT Working Papers 2019-006, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2019006
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Middle-technology trap; automotive industry; technology; innovation; Turkey;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment

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