25 May 2016

This monthly selection of articles has been carried out by Philippe Gugler and Damiano Lepori, the Center for Competitiveness, University of Fribourg. The entire selection, carried out since 2013, can be consulted on the academic articles page of our web.


Network Structure and Industrial Clustering Dynamics in the Aerospace Industry

By: E. Turkina, A. Van Assche, and Raja Kali. Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations CIRANO, ISSN 2292-0838.

Abstract : “We use a new firm level dataset to study the network of formal firm linkages within and across 52 aerospace clusters in North America and Europe over the period 2002-2014. Applying community structure detection techniques, we find that the structure of the overall network has changed over time. We organize sub-networks by linkage type and find two important trends in their evolution. First, new linkages in the vertical buyer-supplier sub-network are generally formed in a hierarchical hub-and-spoke fashion, whereas new links in the horizontal partnership sub-network are generated in a more decentralized and cohesive manner. Second, the geographical scope of new linkages is different, with vertical buyer-supplier and investment linkages moving increasingly trans-local and partnership linkages becoming more localized. Taken together, our findings suggest that the overall network is evolving from a geographically partitioned community structure to a hierarchical community structure that is stratified along value chain stages.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


From a Non-Innovator to a High-Innovation Performer: Networking as a Driver

By: H. Forsman, and S. Temel. Regional Studies, Volume 50, Issue 7, ISSN: 1360-0591.

Abstract: “This paper explores the patterns of networking benefits gained through collaboration by small firms. The empirical evidence is based on data gathered from 708 Finnish firms with fewer than 50 employees. Separate analyses are conducted for the manufacturing and service businesses. The study demonstrates how the benefits gained through collaboration change along with the journey from a non-innovator to a high-innovation performer. In general, the results suggest that the focus of innovation policies should be shifted from innovations to innovators. In addition, these policies should promote networking activities not only to innovation exploration but also to innovation exploitation.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Inventor networks in renewable energies: The influence of the policymix in Germany

By: U. Cantner, H. Graf, J. Herrmann, and M. Kalthaus. Research Policy, Vol. 45, Iss. 6.

Abstract: “Technological change and gains in efficiency of renewable power generation technologies are to a large extent driven by governmental support. Various policy instruments that can broadly be categorized as technology push, demand pull or systemic constitute part of the policy mix for renewable energies. Our goal is to gain insights into the influence of this policy mix on the intensity and organization of inventive activities for wind power and photovoltaics in Germany since the 1980s. We examine the effect of different instruments on the size and structure of co-inventor networks based on patent data. Our results indicate notable differences between the technologies: the network size for wind power is driven by technology push and systemic instruments, while in photovoltaics, demand pull is decisive for network growth. By and large, the instruments complement each other and form a consistent mix of policy instruments. The structure of the networks is driven by demand pull for both technologies. Systemic instruments increase interaction, especially in the wind power network, and are complementary to demand pull in fostering collaboration.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Cross-border regional innovation systems: conceptual backgrounds, empirical evidence and policy implications

By: T. Makkonen, and S. Rohde. European Planning Studies, DOI:10.1080/09654313.2016.1184626-

Abstract: “The concept of cross-border regional innovation systems (CBRIS) surfaced in the literature on economic geography through discourses that highlighted the need for broadening innovation systems to cross-border contexts. Since these early discussions, the theoretical backgrounds of CBRIS have been elaborated through notions of geographical scale, proximity and related variety in a range of conceptual papers proposing CBRIS as a comprehensive framework for analysing regional cross-border integration. However, the empirical literature on CBRIS has failed to keep up with the advances in conceptualization. This paper discusses the reasons behind this mismatch, which means that the concept still rests upon and draws policy suggestions based on a thin evidence base. Directions for further research are pointed out by underlining the need for holistic empirical validation of the concept together with the need of understanding how suggested policy measures based on CBRIS reasoning have been implemented in border regions, and their effectiveness in promoting cross-border integration.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Knowledge Creation and Dissemination by Local Public Technology Centers in Regional and Sectoral Innovation Systems: Insights from patent data

By: N. Fukugawa. RIETI, Tohoku University, Discussion Paper Series 16-E-061.

Abstract: “Local public technology centers (LPTCs) in Japan help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve productivity through technology transfer. Using a comprehensive patent database and based on frameworks of regional and sector innovation systems, this study quantitatively evaluates LPTCs' technology transfer activities. The key findings can be summarized as follows. First, local SMEs' technological portfolios (the distribution of patents across technological fields) indicate a better fit with the technological portfolios of LPTCs than with those of local universities. This tendency is salient for manufacturing LPTCs. Second, LPTCs collaborate more intensively on research with local SMEs compared to the local universities. This tendency is also salient for manufacturing LPTCs. Third, in regions where SMEs' technological portfolios are concentrated in biotechnology, LPTCs engage more in licensing. In regions where SMEs' technological portfolios are concentrated in mechanical engineering, LPTCs engage more in technical consultation.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


International Technology Transfer and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from the High-Speed Rail Sector in China

By: Y. Lin, Y. Qin, and Z. Xie. CEP, The London School of Economics and Political Sciences, Discussion Paper No 1393, ISSN 2042-2695.

Abstract: “How does the transfer of advanced technology spur innovation in developing countries? This paper exploits the large-scale introduction of high-speed railway (HSR) technology into China in 2004 as a natural experiment to address this question. The experiment is unique in the sense that this wave of technology transfer is large, abrupt and arguably exogenous in timing, covering a variety of technology classes and a large number of geographically-dispersed railway-related firms. With detailed information on the types of technology transferred and the identities of the receiving firms, as well as their product market specializations, we are able to depict a clear picture of how foreign technology is digested and spurs follow up innovation in and out of directly receiving firms. Our findings suggest that technology transfer leads to significant growth in HSR-related patents in cities with direct receivers of imported technology after 2004 in a triple-difference estimation. We also observe sizable spill overs to firms that are not directly related to the railway industry. Technology similarity plays an important role in technology diffusion, but we do not observe any significant impacts of geographic proximity. Previous university research strength in relevant fields is also conducive to stronger technology spill overs.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


The Global Spatial Distribution of Economic Activity: Nature, History, and the Role of Trade

By: V. Henderson, T. Squires, A. Storeygard, and D. Weil. Department of Economics, Tufts University, Working Paper 03/2016.

Abstract: “We study the distribution of economic activity, as proxied by lights at night, across 250,000 grid cells of average are 560 kilometers. We first document that nearly half of the variation can be explained by a parsimonious set of physical geography attributes. A full set of country indicators only explains a further 10%. When we divide geographic characteristics into two groups, those primarily important for agriculture and those primarily important for trade, we find that the agriculture variable have relatively more explanatory power in countries that developed early and the trade variable have relatively more in countries that developed late, despite the fact that the latter group of countries are far more dependent on agriculture today. We explain this apparent puzzle in a model in which two technological shocks occur, one increasing agricultural productivity and the other decreasing transportation costs, and in which agglomeration economies lead to persistence in urban locations. In countries that developed early, structural transformation due to rising agricultural productivity began at a time when transport costs were still relatively high, so urban agglomerations were localized in agricultural regions. When transport costs fell well before structural transformation. To exploit urban scale economies, manufacturing agglomerated in relatively few, often coastal, locations. With structural transformation, these initial coastal locations grew, without formation of more cities in the agricultural interior.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Production Networks, Geography, and Firm Performance

By: A. B. Bernard, A. Moxmnes, and Y. Saito. RIETI, Discussion Paper 16-E-055.

Abstract: “This paper examines the importance of buyer-supplier relationships, geography, and the structure of the production network in firm performance. We develop a simple model where firms can outsource tasks and search for suppliers in different locations. Low search and outsourcing costs lead firms to search more and find better suppliers. This in turn drives down firms' marginal production costs. We test the theory by exploiting the opening of a high-speed train line (shinkansen) in Japan which lowered the cost of passenger travel but left shipping costs unchanged. Using an exhaustive dataset on firms' buyer-seller linkages, we find significant improvements in firm performance as well as creation of new buyer-seller links, which are consistent with the model.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Government-subsidized R&D and firm innovation: Evidence from China

By: G. Di, G. Yan, and J. Kun. Research Policy, Vol. 45, Iss. 6.

Abstract: “This study investigates the effects of government R&D programs on firm innovation outputs, which are measured by the number of patents, sales from new products, and exports. Particularly, we examine the effects of Innovation Fund for Small and Medium Technology-based Firms (Innofund), which is one of the largest government R&D programs that support R&D activities of small and medium-sized enterprises in China. Using a panel dataset on Chinese manufacturing firms from 1998 to 2007, we find that Innofund-backed firms generate significantly higher technological and commercialized innovation outputs compared with their non-Innofund-backed counterparts and the same firms before winning the grant. Moreover, the changes in the governance of Innofund in 2005 from a centralized to a decentralized one because of policy amendments have significant effects on the effectiveness of the program. Specifically, the magnified effects of Innofund on technological innovation outputs become significantly stronger after the governance of Innofund becomes more decentralized. Identification problems are addressed by utilizing both propensity score matching and two-stage estimation approaches.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


New Asian Regionalism: Responses to Globalisation and Crises

Edited by: T.V. Hoa, C. Harvie. Palgrave macmillan, ISBN 978-0-230-37756-1, 2016.

Abstract: “This collection of selected studies by well-known experts in major Asian countries surveys, discusses and analyzes emerging problems and challenges facing them. It proposes prescriptions for better regional economic integration and more effective economic management in the future. The book's area of study includes economics and business development, development economics, trade and investment, global competitiveness economics policy in Asia, globalisation, the WTO, and regional and international economic integration.” [ABSTRACT FROM EDITORS]