A Multi-disciplinary Perspective
Edited by Faïz Gallouj and Faridah Djellal
Chapter 18: How Important are Knowledge-Intensive Services for their Client Industries? An Assessment of their Impact on Productivity and Innovation
José A. Camacho and Mercedes Rodriguez 18.1 Introduction Services began to be taken into consideration in innovation studies during the 1980s with the pioneering works of Richard Barras, Jonathan Gershuny and Ian Miles, after decades of having been virtually ignored. But it was not until the 1990s that services captured the attention they deserved. Among the different types of service activities analysed, a group of industries stood out because of their ‘special’ characteristics – those called knowledge-intensive services (KIS). In a widely cited paper Miles et al. (1995) summarised these characteristics in terms of the three features they have in common, that is, they rely greatly on professional knowledge, are themselves sources of knowledge and are of competitive importance for their clients. In addition to the relatively recent recognition of the key role of services and more concretely of KIS in innovation, we have been witnessing a great increase in international trade in services. Far from the traditional belief that services are, by nature, non-tradable, the fact is that the provision of services is becoming more and more global, with the result that foreign direct investment (FDI) in services is nowadays more relevant than FDI in manufacturing. Many factors can be highlighted as drivers of the upsurge in the internationalisation of service activities (changes in business strategies, higher competition), but one stands out above all: the impact that information technologies (IT) have had on services. Services are not only the main users of IT but they are also, thanks to advances...
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