International Knowledge and Innovation Networks
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International Knowledge and Innovation Networks

Knowledge Creation and Innovation in Medium-technology Clusters

Riccardo Cappellin and Rüdiger Wink

This book explores the distinct nature of innovation in medium technology industrial sectors – which are the key to European international competitiveness – and examines the recent changes of networks within regional clusters.
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Chapter 2: The Role and Characteristics of Medium-tech Sectors

Riccardo Cappellin and Rüdiger Wink


Riccardo Cappellin While innovation policies mainly focus on the development of high technologies and R&D investments, European industry is still characterized by a strong specialization in medium-technology sectors, such as machinery, transport equipment and chemical products.1 (See Box 2.1 for definitions of industry technology categories.) 2.1 THE ROLE OF MEDIUM-TECHNOLOGY SECTORS IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE Medium-technology manufacturing sectors represent the largest component in the trade of OECD countries (56.3%) and their share in the period 2000–05 has continuously increased, while the shares of both low-technology and high-technology products have decreased (Table 2.1). The most recent data for the exports of European countries indicate the same importance and the same trend of the medium-technology sectors. In particular, the share of medium-technology sectors in total manufacturing exports is greater than or close to 50% in almost all European countries and it increased during the 2000–03 period in the following countries: Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. An opposite trend is only indicated in the following countries: Belgium, Greece, Ireland and Spain. In fact, the share of the exports by the high-technology sectors has decreased in all countries indicated above with the exception of Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, where the increase of the share of high-tech sectors is mainly determined by the sharp decrease of the share in lowtechnology sectors (as in Belgium, Ireland and Portugal) and in medium low-technology sectors (as in Greece and Spain) (Table 2.2). These trends are explained both...

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