Technology and National Competitiveness

Technology and National Competitiveness

Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Technology and National Competitiveness
    Book Description:

    The first part of the collection reassesses and elaborates on Nobel Prize winner Wassily Leontief's input-output model and makes use of Michael V. Posner's technology gap trade theory to examine international trade and import-export factor intensity. The contributors clearly isolate technology as a crucial factor in the foreign commerce of Canada, the US, and other industrial nations. The second part provides the theoretical background, revealing the importance of the industrialized state's ability to affect international trade by implementing technology policy. The third part analyses the role of government strategy in the development of technology in less industrialized nations faced with a fluctuating world economy and rapid technological change. The fourth part re-evaluates Shumpeterian theory, addressing the market determinants of technological change such as market structure, corporate strategy, and the size of corporations.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6284-4
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Jorge Niosi

    This volume is a selection of papers presented to the international symposium “Oligopolies, Technological Innovation and International Competitiveness” organized by the Centre for Research on the Development of Industry and Technology (CREDIT) of the University of Quebec at Montreal in October 1987. It is a collection of original works concerning the role of technology in international trade and the importance of industrial structure in technical innovation.

    The first part of this collection is comprised of four chapters inspired by the works of Wassily Leontief. The American economist and 1973 Nobel Prize winner is well known for the application of his...


    • CHAPTER ONE Technological Change and International Trade
      (pp. 3-10)

      This paper first replicates the findings established by the “Leontief paradox,” namely, that over a long historical period the United States has regularly absorbed labour and economized on capital through its international trade. Next, the paper shows that technological change has exercised a systematic influence on the factor content of us trade in recent decades. An economic interpretation of these findings is offered, taking a dynamic rather than a comparative static point of view. Finally, recommendations are made for extending the conceptual framework used in this paper in the direction of an operational theory of international trade.

      When I was...

    • CHAPTER TWO Technology Intensity of US, Canadian, and Japanese Manufactures Output and Exports
      (pp. 11-43)

      Innovations and technological advances are important factors in the globalrace for export markets. These contributions to a nation’s competitivenessare made possible by research-and-development expenditures. Indeed‚ R&D expenditures can be thought of as investments in the technology that isembodied in a nation’s industrial output and as determinants of the inter-national competitiveness of its industries.

      The value and intensity of technology embodied in output can be esti-mated at national and sectoral levels for economies that report detailed R&Dand shipments data. These estimates allow international‚ intertemporal‚ andintersectoral assessments of the contribution of R&D expenditures to outputfor domestic use and export.

      A full accounting...

    • CHAPTER THREE Canadian Industrial Energy Consumption and External Trade
      (pp. 44-59)

      Canadian exports (dominated by raw and semi-finished goods) were significantly more energy intensive than imports (dominated by manufactured goods) in the 1970s – the net surplus of export energy requirements over import energy requirements totalled 9 percent of domestic use of energy in 1971. Exports of goods and services were 26 percent more energy intensive per dollar than imports in 1976. Canadian intensiveness of energy use, as measured by the aggregate energy gross domestic product (GDP) ratio, changed little from 1971 to 1976. Decomposition of commercial energy requirements per dollar of GDP reveals that final consumption patterns and direct energy use...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Technological Clusters and Competitive Poles: The Case of Canadian Energy
      (pp. 60-88)

      Technological advance affects the trade performance of a country not only by modifying the absolute advantage of one of its industries or the ranking of its industries compared with that of other countries (comparative advantage), but by creating dynamic advantages that go beyond specific industries. This study develops an aspect of Posner’s technology gap theory of trade that has received little attention to date. Innovation tends to cluster in related industries and thus confers to a national economy dynamic advantages. This study takes the example of Canada, focusing on the concentration of innovation in and around the production of electrical...


    • CHAPTER FIVE Technological Innovation and International Competitiveness
      (pp. 91-118)

      Soete and Dosi provide a critical examination of the role of technology in current theories of international trade. They reject the dominant neoclassical paradigm for its unrealistic assumptions of identical production functions and tastes among nations, compensating adjustment mechanisms, and perfect competition. They classify the heterodox theories in three major groups: (1) those that accept all but one or two of the assumptions of the neoclassical theories, (2) those whose starting points are international technical disparities among nations, and (3) those that emphasize the international diffusion of technology. While these theories provide a slightly more realistic framework for the analysis...

    • CHAPTER SIX The State and International Trade: Technology and Competitiveness
      (pp. 119-141)

      Because international trade has evolved since the nineteenth century, so should neoclassical theory. Since the Second World War, industrial development has rapidly evolved from labour-intensive activities to capital-intensive and more rfcently to knowledge-intensive activities. As the weight of static natural advantage has diminished, that of the dynamic socially produced advantages has grown. As convincingly demonstrated by the booming industrial latecomers, the state is a key actor in the creation of dynamic comparative advantages. The state’s role includes the active promotion of technological change and its diffusion in the productive structure. Theories of international trade, as well as those of international...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Technological Competitiveness Considered as a Form of Structural Competitiveness
      (pp. 142-176)

      The issue of international competitiveness — and the links competitiveness might have with a country’s research and development and its capacity to innovate — became central to the 1980s debate concerning the conceptual research on innovation and the elaboration and implementation of national industrial and technological policies (of course, these policies include the decision to abandon such policies, to stop “intervention” and to deregulate and privatize the public sector).

      The aim of this chapter is to assist and to clarify the debate. It begins with the assumption that the international competitiveness of a national economy depends on the competitiveness of the firms...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Indicators of Industrial Competitiveness: Results and Limitations
      (pp. 177-222)

      In the context of a global economy, the indicators that measure the results of industrial competition, especially those indicators based on international commerce, increasingly lose their value if they are not linked to other variables, especially foreign direct investment (FDI) and technological exchange. Also, these indicators should not be isolated from the totality of the determinant factors if they are to be interpreted accurately. These factors can be directly tied to relative prices or to other structural causes. In this regard, we will point out the importance of the role of technology in determining competitive advantage. We will also examine...


    • CHAPTER NINE New Modes of Competition in the Textile and Clothing Industry: Some Consequences for Third World Exporters
      (pp. 225-246)

      The textile and clothing industry is currently undergoing a series of dramatic changes, perhaps the most fundamental of which is the increasingly important role that knowledge is coming to play in the production process. This is reflected less in the classical sense of research and development and more in the design, management, and marketing innovations that are exercising a profound impact on the industry’s structure and its mode of competition. Combined with growing protectionism, in the form of increasingly more restrictive Multifibre Arrangements (MFAS), these technological and organizational changes have significantly altered the environment within which the newly industrializing countries...

    • CHAPTER TEN Engineering, Design Services, and Technology Transfers: The Case of the Republic of South Korea
      (pp. 247-264)

      The construction of a new industrial production unit, such as a steel mill, a petrochemical refinery, or a cement plant, involves the purchase of heavy industrial equipment from a widely diverse array of mechanical, electrical, electronic firms as well as calling upon the services of several companies for work in infrastructure – building construction, building construction, installation of metallic structures, piping, and electrical systems. The construction of a new plant equally necessitates a series of studies, technical (feasibility, process, project, execution) as well as organizational (planning, site co-ordination, equipment purchases). These organizational and technical activities, known as engineering services, can be...


    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Oligopoly, Innovation, and Firm Competitiveness
      (pp. 267-281)

      What types of firms are the most innovative and under what market conditions are they most likely to be so? Ever since Schumpeter hypothesized that the market structure most conducive to innovation would be some form of imperfect competition (later dubbed a “competitive oligopoly” by Villard), this hypothesis has been statistically tested both by those attempting to confirm it and those trying to refute it. No firm conclusion emerged from this work, which involved testing the hypothesis directly or indirectly by positing a relationship between oligopoly, firm size, and innovation. Although most of the work reviewed in this chapter was...