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Innovation, Networks, and Vertical Integration

Author

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  • Paul L. Robertson

    (University College, University of New South Wales)

  • Richard N. Langlois

    (The University of Connecticut)

Abstract

A central debate in industrial policy today is that between proponents of large vertically integrated firms on the one hand and advocates of networks of small specialized producers on the other. This paper argues that neither institutional structure is the universal panacea its enthusiasts claim. The menu of institutional alternatives is in fact quite large, and both firms and networks -- of which there is more than one kind -- can be successful, growth- promoting adaptations to the competitive environment. Industrial structures vary in their ability to coordinate information flows necessary for innovation and to overcome power relationships adverse to innovation. The relative desirability of the various structures, then, will depend on the nature and scope of technological change in the industry and on the effects of various product life-cycle patterns. The principal policy conclusion of this analysis is that the government's role ought to be facilitating rather than narrow and

Suggested Citation

  • Paul L. Robertson & Richard N. Langlois, 1994. "Innovation, Networks, and Vertical Integration," Industrial Organization 9406006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:9406006
    Note: 40 pages. Forthcoming in Research Policy
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Florida, Richard L. & Kenney, Martin, 1988. "Venture capital-financed innovation and technological change in the USA," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 119-137, June.
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    3. Saxenian, AnnaLee, 1991. "The origins and dynamics of production networks in Silicon Valley," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 423-437, October.
    4. Helper, Susan & Levine, David I, 1992. "Long-Term Supplier Relations and Product-Market Structure," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 561-581, October.
    5. Imai, Ken-ichi & Itami, Hiroyuki, 1984. "Interpenetration of organization and market : Japan's firm and market in comparison with the U.S," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 285-310, December.
    6. Langlois, Richard N., 1992. "External Economies and Economic Progress: The Case of the Microcomputer Industry," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(01), pages 1-50, March.
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    8. Cheung, Steven N S, 1983. "The Contractual Nature of the Firm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-21, April.
    9. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1992. "Networks and innovation in a modular system: Lessons from the microcomputer and stereo component industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 297-313, August.
    10. Dorfman, Nancy S., 1983. "Route 128: The development of a regional high technology economy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 299-316, December.
    11. Brusco, Sebastiano, 1982. "The Emilian Model: Productive Decentralisation and Social Integration," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 167-184, June.
    12. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1989. "Explaining Vertical Integration: Lessons from the American Automobile Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(02), pages 361-375, June.
    13. Paul L. Robertson & Richard N. Langlois, 1994. "Institutions, Inertia, and Changing Industrial Leadership," Industrial Organization 9406005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    • L - Industrial Organization

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