Building Domestic Capabilities in a Global Setting
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Edited by Bengt-Åke Lundvall, K. J. Joseph, Cristina Chaminade and Jan Vang
Chapter 10: The Role of Multinational Corporations in National Innovation Systems in Developing Countries: From Technology Diffusion to International Involvement
Anabel Marin and Valeria Arza 10.1 Introduction National innovation systems (NIS) in developing countries are typically inefficient and/or ineffective in their task of producing and exploiting knowledge (Intarakumnerd et al, 2002; Alcorta and Perez, 1998; Arocena and Sutz, 2000; Radosevic, 1999; Viotti, 2002).1 Development and innovation studies have therefore acknowledged the importance for developing countries to remain open and receptive to knowledge and technologies created abroad (see for instance Lundvall, 1992; Wong, 2001; Hobday, 1997; Keller, 2004). The literature has been less willing, however, to highlight the importance of promoting mechanisms to improve and sustain the international involvement of the system. The international involvement of the system relates to the capacity of the system of having in place mechanisms to assure not only access to a given piece of technology or knowledge but also involvement in international processes of knowledge creation and diffusion. Mechanisms of international involvement are becoming increasingly important for developing countries given two undeniable facts of technological change. First, technologies are ever becoming more complex, which implies that technological change tends increasingly to involve sectoral and inter-firm interdependences. Industrializing countries, therefore, which typically produce with sectoral structures that are seldom diversified increasingly need to have mechanisms that allow them to get involved in international processes of knowledge creation in order to gain access to the complementary assets that are needed to increase the likelihood of becoming themselves worldwide knowledge producers. Secondly, the worldwide rate of technological change is becoming faster and faster. Therefore, developing countries, which...
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