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Technological revolutions, structural change & catching-up

Author

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  • Fagerberg, Jan

    (TIK, University of Oslo)

  • Verspagen, Bart

    (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)

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 specialisation 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, industrialised countries, specialised in technology-based production, and another group of countries, specialised 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

  • Fagerberg, Jan & Verspagen, Bart, 2020. "Technological revolutions, structural change & catching-up," MERIT Working Papers 2020-012, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2020012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Özgür ERSİN & Ayfer USTABAŞ & Tuğçe ACAR, 2022. "The Nonlinear Effects of High Technology Exports, R&D and Patents on Economic Growth: A Panel Threshold Approach to 35 OECD Countries," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(1), pages 26-44, April.
    2. Zoran Aralica & Bruno Skrinjaric, 2021. "Adoption of digital and ICT technologies and firms’ productivity," Working Papers 2102, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technological revolutions; catching up; specialisation; renewable energy; China;
    All these keywords.

    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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