Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy
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Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy

Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan

This interdisciplinary volume provides a critical and multi-disciplinary review of current manufacturing processes, practices, and policies, and broadens our understanding of production and innovation in the world economy. Chapters highlight how firms and industries modify existing processes to produce for established and emerging markets through dynamic and design-driven strategies. This approach allows readers to view transformations in production systems and processes across sectors, technologies and industries. Contributors include scholars ranging from engineering to policy to economic geography. The evidence demonstrates that manufacturing continues to matter in the world economy.
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Chapter 16: Hidden in plain sight: the North American optics and photonics industry

Jennifer Clark


This chapter describes an established enabling industry: optics and photonics. The photonics industry has existed at the crossroads between science policy and economic development for several decades – falling somewhere along the spectrum from a high-tech emerging industry to an established sector. As a consequence, photonics often fails to garner the state and federal investment directed at seemingly newer and flashier enabling technologies like nanotechnology or biotechnology. It also falls beneath the radar of policy makers focused on new materials like lightweight composites or additive manufacturing. And finally, the definitional issues that make the boundaries of the industry difficult to scope, often leave it off the list of industries targeted for economic development and private investment.

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