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The mechanisms of knowledge governance: State owned enterprises and Italian economic growth, 1950-1994

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The grafting of the tools of communication studies on the economics of knowledge helps to investigate the mechanisms of knowledge governance. The actual economic benefits stemming from knowledge externalities depend on the characteristics of a) their sources, b) the context in which spillovers take place, c) the possible recipients. In the Italian experience between 1950-1992, state owned enterprises (SOE) have been one of the most effective mechanisms of knowledge governance. Italian SOE were very effective emissaries of knowledge externalities as they imitated the US corporate model of intramuros R&D laboratories and yet were characterized by an objective function based upon output maximization under the constraint of average profitability. Their support to the growth of the system was crucial not only with respect to the creation of basic infrastructure but also as active players in implementing effective mechanisms of knowledge governance. Research activities carried out by SOE were mainly based in upstream industries, with multiple user-producer interactions with firms active in downstream industries, and aimed at implementing a knowledge base characterized by high levels of generic content and a wide scope of application. Moreover the specific objective function of SOE favoured higher levels of knowledge generation than exploitation. These characteristics helped disseminate relevant knowledge externalities that played a strong and positive role on total factor productivity in the second part of the XX century in Italy. Their role was stronger than the knowledge externalities stemming from research activities carried out by private firms.

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  • Antonelli, Cristiano & Barbiellini Amidei, Federico & Fassio, Claudio, 2012. "The mechanisms of knowledge governance: State owned enterprises and Italian economic growth, 1950-1994," 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 201210, University of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:uto:labeco:201210
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucchese, Matteo & Nascia, Leopoldo & Pianta, Mario, 2017. "Politica industriale e tecnologia in Italia
      [Industrial policy and technology in Italy]
      ," MPRA Paper 77182, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Mario BENASSI & Matteo LANDONI, 2017. "State Owned Enterprises as Knowledge Explorer Agents," Departmental Working Papers 2017-13, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    3. Gershman, Mikhail & Bredikhin, Sergey & Vishnevskiy, Konstantin, 2016. "The role of corporate foresight and technology roadmapping in companies' innovation development: The case of Russian state-owned enterprises," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 187-195.
    4. Agnieszka Gehringer & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann Danzinger, 2016. "What are the drivers of total factor productivity in the European Union?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(4), pages 406-434, June.
    5. Antonelli, Cristiano & David, Paul, 2015. "Knowledge, Institutions and Economic Policy: An Introduction," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201541, University of Turin.
    6. Matteo Lucchese & Leopoldo Nascia & Mario Pianta, 2016. "Industrial policy and technology in Italy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(3), pages 233-260, September.
    7. Cristiano Antonelli & Francesco Crespi & Giuseppe Scellato, 2015. "Productivity growth persistence: firm strategies, size and system properties," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 129-147, June.

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    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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