nep-tid New Economics Papers
on Technology and Industry Dynamics
Issue of 2005‒03‒20
nine papers chosen by
Francesco Lissoni
Universitá degli studi di Brescia

  1. Product entry in a fast growing industry: the LAN switch market By Roberto Fontana; Lionel Nesta
  2. The Value and Costs of Modularity: A Cognitive Perspective By Stefano Brusoni; Luigi Marengo; Andre Prencipe; Marco Valente
  3. Socio-economic Impact of Nanoscale Science: Initial Results and NanoBank By Lynne G. Zucker; Michael R. Darby
  4. Labour productivity, ICT and regions: The revival of Italian “dualism”? By Simona Iammarino; Cecilia Jona-Lasini; Susanna Mantegazza
  5. Does internationalisation of technology determine technological diversification in large firms? By Christian Le Bas; Pari Patel
  6. Intellectual Property and Inter-organizational Collaborative Networks: Navigating the Maze By Puay Tang; Jordi Molas-Gallart
  7. Methods of Evaluating University Research Around the World By Aled ab Iorwerth
  8. To Know is to Be: Three Perspectives on the Codification of Knowledge By Mike Bartholomaei
  9. China's Innovation System Reform and Growing Industry and Science Linkages By Kazuyuki Motohashi; Xiao Yun

  1. By: Roberto Fontana (CESPRI, Bocconi University, Milan); Lionel Nesta (SPRU, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: We provide empirical evidence on market positioning by firms, in terms of market niche, distance from technological frontier and dispersion. We focus on the switch industry, a sub-market of the Local Area Network industry, in the nineties. Market positioning is a function of the type of firms (incumbents versus entrants), market size and contestability and firm competencies. We find that incumbents specialise in high-end segments and disperse their product in a larger spectrum of the market. Instead, entrants focus on specific market niches. Market size, market contestability and firm competencies are also important determinants of product location.
    Keywords: switch industry, markets, competition, firm capabilities, product entry
    JEL: L11 L63
    Date: 2004–10–10
  2. By: Stefano Brusoni (CESPRI and CRORA, Bocconi University); Luigi Marengo (Università di Teramo); Andre Prencipe (Università G. D’Annunzio di Pescara, and SPRU, University of Sussex); Marco Valente (Università dell’Aquila, and DRUID, Aalborg Univ)
    Abstract: This paper discusses the issue of modularity from a problem-solving perspective. Modularity is in fact a decomposition heuristic, through which a complex problem is decomposed into independent or quasi-independent sub-problems. By means of a model of problem decomposition, this paper studies the trade-offs of modularity: on the one hand finer modules increase the speed of search, but on the other hand they usually determine lock-in into sub-optimal solutions. How effectively to balance this trade-off depends upon the problem environment and its complexity and volatility: we show that in stationary and complex environments there exists an evolutionary advantage to over-modularization, while in highly volatile – though “simple” – en- vironments, contrary to usual wisdom, modular search is inefficient. The empirical relevance of our findings is discussed, especially with reference to the literature on system integration.
    Keywords: modularity, problem solving, complex systems
    JEL: O3
    Date: 2004–08–30
  3. By: Lynne G. Zucker; Michael R. Darby
    Abstract: Research on the nanoscale has revolutionized areas of science and has begun to have an impact on, and be impacted by, society and economy. We are capturing early traces of these processes in NanoBank, a large scale, multi-year project to provide a public data resource which will link individuals and organizations involved in creating and using nano S&T across a number of activities including publishing, patenting, research funding, and commercial financing, innovation and production. We report preliminary results from our work in progress. Nanotechnology is on a similar trajectory to biotechnology in terms of patents and publication, already accounting for over 2.5% of scientific articles and 0.7% of patents. Joint university-firm research is widespread and increasing. Regional agglomeration is also evident in both science and commercial applications, with the main clusters of firm entry by both new and pre-existing firms forming around major research universities publishing in nanoscience. Nanoscience has been highly concentrated in the United States, a few European countries, and Japan, but China has recently passed Japan in total articles per year and is beginning to have a significant number of highly-cited articles.
    JEL: O31 L63 L65 M13
    Date: 2005–03
  4. By: Simona Iammarino (SPRU, University of Sussex); Cecilia Jona-Lasini (Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), Rome, Italy); Susanna Mantegazza (Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), Rome, Italy)
    Abstract: Among the reasons underlying the slow economic convergence of some regions towards the national and the European Union average, the strong gap in technological endowment and innovation capacity has been indicated as one of the most important factors. The requirements of the current ‘knowledge-based economy’ and the contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to socio-economic change are very likely to have a significant impact upon regional differentials in the European Union. So far, however, it is rather unclear whether the new paradigm will spur greater socio-economic cohesion or, on the contrary, stronger territorial polarisation. This paper looks at the distribution of ICT-producing small and medium enterprises in Italy, comparing structural variables – in particular spatial and sectoral dimensions - with labour productivity levels. Ultimately, the objective is to shed some light on the role that ICT-producing firms might play with respect to regional gaps in the Italian economy, traditionally characterised by geographical polarisation and imbalances which are among the most striking in the “Europe of regions”. The first result of our analysis (carried out by using experimental micro data) is that a linkage seems to emerge between high labour productivity and the IT industry. This is in line with the insights of the economic theory of technical change, suggesting that IT-producing sectors are those where gains in productivity are by far the most evident. As expected, the geographical location of firms accounts for a good deal when looking at labour productivity levels across sectors, casting some concern on the development perspectives of the Italian regional divide.
    Keywords: regional development, Italy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), small and medium enterprises, productivity
    JEL: R11 L63
    Date: 2004–11–10
  5. By: Christian Le Bas (Centre Walras, University of Lyon II); Pari Patel (SPRU, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: The purpose of the paper is to examine the relationship between technological diversification and internationalisation of technology for large multinational firms, operating at the world technological frontier. More precisely we address the question as to whether internationalisation determines diversification. The analysis is based on a rich database of the European patenting activity of 345 large multinational firms with the highest levels of patenting over two periods of time (1988-1990 and 1994-1996). The relationship is tested using a variety of different regression models. The results show that for the sample as a whole there is no statistically significant relationship between technological diversification and internationalisation of technology. However when the sample is disaggregated according to the predominant internationalisation strategy adopted by a firm, we find a statistically significant relationship. Our results show that in a cross-section of firms adopting a homebase- augmenting strategy, internationalisation determines the level of diversification. Thus amongst such large firms a higher level of internationalisation of technology is associated with a greater level of diversification.
    Keywords: multinational firms, technological diversification,internationalisation of technology, patenting
    JEL: O32
    Date: 2005–01–10
  6. By: Puay Tang (SPRU, University of Sussex); Jordi Molas-Gallart (SPRU, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: Intellectual Property (IP) is a key intangible asset influencing corporate performance and its management is increasingly recognized as a central element of corporate strategy. This article is concerned with the management of IP in inter-firm collaborative projects mediated through the use of advanced IT tools. Here, groups of firms, often competitors, and sometimes their customer organizations, collaborate in the design, development, manufacture and maintenance of complex products, exchanging large amounts of proprietary technical data through IT tools. How can organizations exploit the capabilities offered by these tools without increasing the vulnerability of IP assets to misappropriation, unauthorized use or leakage? We explore the case of the UK defence market, where an extensive set of formal contractual tools is being developed to support IP management in collaborative projects. Through an in-depth study of IP management practice in UK defence projects we analyse the extent to which contractual tools can combine with technical solutions to provide answers to the problems posed by IP management in complex, long-term collaborative projects. We conclude that contractual and technical tools must be underpinned by managerial changes bringing together functions that remain separated in most large corporations: Information Technology management, legal and commercial departments.
    Keywords: Intellectual Property management; Information Technology; Shared Data Environments; inter-organisational networks; defence sector; collaborative projects. IPR
    JEL: O34 L86
    Date: 2005–02–01
  7. By: Aled ab Iorwerth
    Abstract: This paper looks at the increasing trend around the world to evaluate the quantity and quality of universities’ research output. Evaluations can provide a useful role in clarifying the performance of university research, and give incentives to increase research output and quality because of increased competition between institutions. Methods of evaluating university research output deployed across countries are discussed. <P> Il y a une tendance croissante dans le monde à évaluer la quantité et la qualité de la recherche universitaire. Les évaluations clarifient la performance des universités, et peuvent fournir des incitations à augmenter la qualité et la quantité de la recherche en augmentant la concurrence entre les institutions. L’auteur examine les différentes approches couramment utilisées dans le monde pour évaluer la recherche universitaire.
  8. By: Mike Bartholomaei (SPRU, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: This paper presents three perspectives on the codification of knowledge. These perspectives are formed by recent contributions in the fields of economics, business and management studies and of a group of writers who have a ‘relational’ perspective from the field of organisational behaviour. A comparison of these differing views highlights not only epistemological boundaries between different approaches but can also lead to the novel approach to studying knowledge codification presented in this paper. This approach is based on the knowledge topography of Cowan et al. (2000). This paper also develops a research approach for examining the situated intricacies of knowledge sharing in group activities as a means for identifying opportunities for knowledge codification in settings where, so far, only tacit knowledge has been seen as the major focus. Such research may enable us to bridge the dichotomy of explicit versus tacit knowledge and the three perspectives on knowledge codification presented. Moreover, in-depth case studies on the possibilities for knowledge codification can advance both the academic and practical debate. (Cowan, R., David, P.A. and Foray, D. (2000) ‘The explicit economics of knowledge codification and tacitness’, Industrial and Corporate Change, 9(2), 211-254.)
    Keywords: Knowledge Codification, Knowledge Perspectives, Situated Study
    JEL: O3 D8
    Date: 2005–03–09
  9. By: Kazuyuki Motohashi; Xiao Yun
    Abstract: In this paper, linkages of S&T activities between industry and science are investigated in the context of innovation system reforms. A firm level dataset from S&T survey at National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of PRC for about 22,000 manufacturing firms is used for econometrics analysis of firm's S&T outsourcing activities. In transition period of China's innovation system from 1996 to 2002, firm's S&T outsourcing activities have been increased significantly. In addition, positive association between basic research oriented firms and collaboration with science sector can be found. China's innovation system was suffered from Russian model, where S&T activities at public research institutes and production activities at state owned enterprises are completely separated. However, in transition period of innovation system reform toward network type one, we can find that some firms have gained their technological capability to collaborate with universities and PRIs.
    Date: 2005–03

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