As New Becomes Old
Chapter 5: The Geography of the ‘New Economy’: The Diversity of Institutional Architectures
INTRODUCTION How should we proceed with an explanation of the economic and institutional determinants of membership in a virtuous circle of growth? Three methods would seem to be useful. The first consists of a sectoral analysis or better still a study of panel data for firms. Bear in mind that several analyses have confirmed the discriminatory role of ICT implementation wherever it has been associated with a flatter corporate hierarchy (Askénazy, 2002; Chapters 3 and 4 in the present book). The second method consists of developing theoretical models, built on microeconomic foundations. These provide the basis on which to determine whether a conjunction of two particular institutions can induce companies to make organizational choices which are complementary, that is perform better as a consequence (Amable et al., 2000a, 2000b). Given the technical and, as yet, exploratory nature of this approach, it is not one that will be pursued at present. A much simpler, and more illuminating, method consists of carrying out a systematic international comparison, thus answering a series of three important questions. Was the United States the only country to have entered a virtuous circle of growth during the latter half of the 1990s? Is intensive utilization, or production, of informational goods a necessary precondition for membership in such a regime? And if other countries share this trait with the United States, do they display the same institutions and forms of organization, or are there substantial differences between them? ICT AT THE HEART OF THE TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE PROCESS...
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