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Knowledge, innovation and localised technological change in Italy, 1950-1990

The paper is an attempt to provide an interpretation of the Italian puzzle in the post-WWII era consisting of very low levels of expenditure in R&D and yet high TFP growth. The research aims to supply the basic tools and the framework for a better understanding of the Italian industry innovation system and of its contribution to the country’s long term growth performance. The study applies the localized echnological change approach to implement the notion of knowledge interactions so as to appreciate: a) the role of external factors in the generation and exploitation of technological knowledge; b) the role of creative adoption in TFP dynamics. The analysis is based on a new dataset containing sectoral and regional series of TFP, capital intensity,wages per labour unit, R&D expenditures, patents granted in the USA, Technological Balance of Payments receipts and expenses, etc. for Italy over the 1950-1990 period. Using a SURE model framework, the impact of user-producer interactions on the dynamic efficiency of the Italian industrial sector is investigated across industries and regions. The significant and distinctive features of Italian innovation dynamics in the post WWII era that result are: i) the emerging and functioning of an innovation system based upon both horizontal dynamics of technological cooperation within industrial districts and vertical dynamic interdependence within industrial filieres; ii) a relevant, albeit incomplete, diffusion/catching up process in Italian regions.

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Paper provided by University of Turin in its series Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio Carlo Alberto. WP series with number 200913.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uto:labeco:200913
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.unito.it/
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  1. Federico Cingano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2004. "Identifying the Sources of Local Productivity Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 720-742, 06.
  2. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The resurgence of growth in the late 1990s: is information technology the story?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. R. Paci & S. Usai, 1997. "Technological enclaves and industrial districts. An analysis of the regional distributions of innovative activity in Europe," Working Paper CRENoS 199708, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  4. R. Paci & A. Saba, 1997. "The empirics of regional Economic growth in italy. 1951-1993," Working Paper CRENoS 199701, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  5. Lucio Picci, 1995. "Lo Stock di capitale nelle Regioni Italiane," Working Papers 229, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  6. Andrea Bassanini & Stefano Scarpetta & Ignazio Visco, 2000. "Knowledge technology and economic growth: recent evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper Research 06, National Bank of Belgium.
  7. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," NBER Working Papers 10310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
  9. Andrea Brandolini & Piero Cipollone, 2001. "Multifactor Productivity and Labour Quality in Italy, 1981-2000," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 422, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  10. Fagerberg, Jan, 1987. "A technology gap approach to why growth rates differ," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2-4), pages 87-99, August.
  11. Laurits R. Christensen & Dianne Cummings & Dale Jorgenson, 1980. "Economic Growth, 1947–73: An International Comparison," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Measurement, pages 595-698 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2003. "Localized Technological Change," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200305, University of Turin.
  13. Fagerberg, Jan, 1994. "Technology and International Differences in Growth Rates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1147-75, September.
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