Economic Development as a Learning Process

Economic Development as a Learning Process

Variation Across Sectoral Systems

Edited by Franco Malerba and Richard R. Nelson

Until recently, economists studying economic development have tended to consider it a universal process, or focussed their attention on common aspects. This book originates from the growing recognition of significant sectoral differences in economic development and examines the catching-up process in five different economic sectors: pharmaceuticals, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, software, and agro-food industries. Each of these sector studies explore the learning and catch-up processes in various developing countries, in order to identify both the common features, and those which differ significantly across sectors and nations. The authors pay particular attention to China, India, Brazil, Korea and Taiwan.

Chapter 7: Conclusions

Franco Malerba and Richard R. Nelson

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, economics of innovation, evolutionary economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation

Extract

Franco Malerba and Richard R. Nelson A central reason for doing the studies reported in this book was the conviction that, while there are important factors and relationships that are common across economic sectors, the requirements and mechanisms for successful catch-up differ significantly across economic sectors, and the concept of a sectoral innovation system provides a useful framework for illuminating these differences. We think the studies reported here support all of these premises. In all of the cases of successful catch-up one can observe certain things, regardless of the sector. Yet there are also important differences across economic sectors in the institutions and mechanisms that are behind successful catch-up experiences, and the sectoral innovation system framework is quite useful in putting a spotlight on these. In this concluding chapter, we first highlight the common elements coming from each chapter (section 7.1) and then the differences across the sectors (section 7.2). Section 7.3 discusses the role of national factors and systems, and section 7.4 draws some final lessons. 7.1 COMMON ELEMENTS AFFECTING CATCH-UP IN ALL SECTORS We have stressed that a principal purpose of this book is to call attention to significant differences across economic sectors in the nature of the development processes involved. However, these differences must be viewed against a background of certain broad basic commonalities in successful catching up. In all of the cases of successful catch-up one can observe certain things, regardless of the sector. 7.1.1 Firms’ Learning The main factor behind catch-up is the learning and...

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