nep-tid New Economics Papers
on Technology and Industrial Dynamics
Issue of 2005‒04‒24
six papers chosen by
Francesco Lissoni
Universita degli Studi di Brescia

  1. Focal Firms as Technological Gatekeeers within Industrial Districts: Knowledge Creation and Dissemination in the Italian Packaging Machinery Industry By Alessandro Malipiero; Federico Munari; Maurizio Sobrero
  2. Strategic Intellectual Property Rights Policy and North-South Technology Transfer By Alireza Naghavi
  3. Platform Competition with Endogenous Multihoming By Roberto Roson
  4. Key Environmental Innovations By Joseph Huber
  5. R&D Networks Among Unionized Firms By Vincent Vannetelbosch; Ana Mauleon; José Sempere-Monerris
  6. India and the Challenge of New Technology By Rahul Amolak Shastri

  1. By: Alessandro Malipiero; Federico Munari; Maurizio Sobrero
    Abstract: Despite the diffusion of communication tools and boundary spanning technologies, knowledge flows in innovation processes retain a distinct localized nature in many industries and geographical clusters emerge as critical areas to foster technological diffusion. In this paper we focus on the role of focal firms in industrial clusters as “gatekeepers” introducing external technological novelties in the cluster and enacting new useful knowledge production locally, thus enhancing international competitive capabilities of all firms in the cluster. We analyze a longitudinal dataset of 720 patents granted by USPTO between 1990 and 2003 to firms in the automatic packaging machinery industrial district of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy, and a matched-sample to control for the uneven geographical distribution of R&D and patenting activities. Our results show that firms within the cluster use local knowledge to a greater extent and more rapidly than knowledge from the outside than it would be expected given the geographic distribution of innovative activity in the industry. Moreover, focal firms use external knowledge to a greater extent than other firms operating in the cluster, and other (non focal) firms within the cluster use knowledge from focal firms to a greater extent than would be expected given the geographic distribution of innovative activity in the industry. Implications for research on the geographical distribution of innovation activities are discussed.
    Keywords: Innovation processes; Knowledge flows; Geographical clusters
    JEL: O18 O31 D83
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Alireza Naghavi (University College Dublin and CERAS)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes welfare implications of protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) in the framework of TRIPS for developing countries (South) through its impact on innovation, market structure and technology transfer. In a North-South trade environment, the South sets its IPR policy strategically to manipulate multinationals’ decisions on innovation and location. Firms can protect their technology by exporting or risk spillovers by undertaking FDI to avoid tariffs. A stringent IPR regime is always optimal for the South as it triggers technology transfer by inducing FDI in less R&D-intensive industries and stimulates innovation by pushing multinationals to deter entry in high-technology sectors.
    Keywords: Intellectual property rights, Technology transfer, Multinational firms, Foreign direct investment, North-South trade
    JEL: O34 F23 F13 L13 O32 L11 O38
    Date: 2005–01
  3. By: Roberto Roson (Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia)
    Abstract: A model of two-sided market (for credit cards) is introduced and discussed. In this model, agents can join none, one, or more than one platform (multihoming), depending on access prices and the choices made by agents on the opposite market side. Although emerging multihoming patterns are, clearly, one aspect of equilibrium in a two-sided market, this issue has not yet been thoroughly addressed in the literature. This paper provides a general theoretical framework, in which homing partitions are conceived as one aspect of market equilibrium, rather than being set ex-ante, through ad-hoc assumptions. The emergence of a specific equilibrium partition is a consequence of: (1) the structure of costs and benefits, (2) the degree and type of heterogeneity among agents, (3) the intensity of platform competition.
    Keywords: Two-sided markets, Network externalities, Standards, Platforms, Multihoming
    JEL: D85 L10 L15 L89
    Date: 2005–01
  4. By: Joseph Huber (Martin-Luther-University)
    Abstract: This paper is based on empirical research on a taxonomy of technological environmental innovations. It draws on a databank with over 500 examples of new technologies (materials, products, processes and practices) which come with benign environmental effects. The approaches applied to interpreting the datasets are innovation life cycle analysis, and product chain analysis. Main results include the following: 1. Innovations merely aimed at eco-efficienc y do in most cases not represent significant contributions to improving the properties of the industrial metabolism. This can better be achieved by technologies that fulfill the criteria of eco-consistency (metabolic consistency), also called eco-effectiveness. 2. Ecological pressure of a technology is basically determined by its conceptual make-up and design. Most promising thus are technologies in earlier rather than later stages of their life cycle (i.e. during R&D and customisation in growing numbers), because it is during the stages before reaching the inflection point and maturity in a learning curve where technological environmental innovations can best contribute to improving ecological consistency of the industrial metabolism while at the same time delivering their maximum increase in efficiency as well.3. Moreover, environmental action needs to focus on early steps in the vertical manufacturing chain rather than on those in the end. Most of the ecological pressure of a technology is no rmally not caused end-of-chain in use or consumption, but in the more basic steps of the manufacturing chain (with the exception of products the use of which consumes energy, e.g. vehicles, appliances). There are conclusions to be drawn for refocusing attention from downstream to upstream in life cycles and product chains, and for a shift of emphasis in environmental policy from regulation to innovation. Ambitious environmental standards, though, continue to be an important regulative precondition of ecologically benign technological innovation.
    Keywords: Technological innovation, Environmental innovation, Life cycle analysis, Sustainability strategies, Environmental policy
    JEL: O33 Q00
    Date: 2005–03
  5. By: Vincent Vannetelbosch (FNRS and CORE, Université Catholique de Louvain); Ana Mauleon (FNRS and CEREC, Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis); José Sempere-Monerris (University of Valencia)
    Abstract: We develop a model of strategic networks in order to analyze how trade unions will affect the stability and efficiency of R&D collaboration networks in an oligopolistic industry with three firms. Whenever firms settle wages, the complete network is always pairwise stable and the partially connected network is stable if and only if spillovers are large enough. If spillovers are small, the complete network is the efficient network; otherwise, the efficient network is the partially connected network. Thus, a conflict between stability and efficiency may occur: efficient networks are pairwise stable, but the reverse is not true. Strong stability even reinforces this conflict. However, once unions settle wages such conflict disappears: the complete network is the unique pairwise and strongly stable network and is the efficient network whatever the spillovers.
    Keywords: Networks, R&D collaboration, Oligopoly, Unions
    JEL: C70 L13 L20 J50 J52
    Date: 2005–04
  6. By: Rahul Amolak Shastri (National Akademi of Development)
    Abstract: This paper tries to look at how India should prepare to meet the challenges of the ongoing scientific and technological revolution, and the forces of globalisation that propel it forward. At least three major technological revolutions seem to be ongoing: the bio-tech, the info- tech and the energy revolutions. Whereas the bio-tech revolution holds the promise of curtailing chemical pollution, it can break the delicate ecological balance of nature. It also threatens the employment of farmers who constitute a major part of the work force of India. The info-tech revolution threatens the power of all handlers of information: subordinate executives, bureaucrats, clerks and teachers. Moreover, it can easily pave the way for automation of mechanical work. This too has the potential of disturbing the employability of a large part of India's work force. The ultimate direction of the energy revolution would seem to be renewable sources such as solar and water power. This may crack the contradiction between the unlimited wants of man and the limited capacity of mother earth. All the three technological revolutions come packaged with globalisation. The hegemony of American and European capital over globalisation has led to opposition to the technological race within the developing world in general and within India in particular. This paper argues that India has to join the global race for new technology, in order to survive as a nation. Furthermore, it is suggested that it should join early to gain bargaining power. Finally, joining the technological race can also help protect India's environment. Since new technology and globalisation come together, India has to take both. However, it must globalise with national interests. Two primary features that need to be protected in the process of globalising are protecting national control over information, and promoting employment while globalising the economy. Increases in labour productivity can lead to cut backs in employment. In a labour surplus country like India, such improvements in efficiency can be unnecessary. A 'necessary' or appropriate increase in efficiency may be defined as a productivity improvement that increases production and employment in other organisations more than it cuts back employment within a given organisation. Globalisation must only be permitted with necessary improvements in efficiency. The defense of national interests in the process of globalisation cannot be left to political processes. They have to be supported by a heightened national consciousness of producers and consumers. This will translate into better quality, cost effectiveness, and productivity on the supply side, and a stronger national market on the demand side. The process of raising national consciousness is a necessarily long term and slow device, since social consciousness is a tough nut to crack.
    Keywords: Globalisation, technical revolution, bio-tech revolution, info-tech revolution, technical progress, economic nationalism, efficiency, employment
    JEL: A F1 F2 N
    Date: 2005–04–18

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