The technological capability accumulation is at the base of development processes. This literature emerged by 1980, when empirical evidence showed that firms in developing countries were not passive receptors of technology; conversely, there were processes of learning and building domestic capabilities. Business behaviour patterns were identified and taxonomies were developed that describe the gradual accumulation processes, from minimal levels to advanced innovative capabilities. Access to microdata (innovation and ad hoc surveys) allowed the use of quantitative methodologies for statistical generalization. Our knowledge has been deepened by empirical evidence on different industries, types of firms, clusters, regions and countries. This article analyses the ways taxonomies were enriched and the transition processes towards the advanced stages of accumulation. It also discusses how the economic, social and political context influences the evolution of the innovation systems and thus the accumulation processes, as well as the implications for innovation policy.
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