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Technological changes and industrial dynamics in Latin America

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Author: Burachik, Gustavo UN symbol.: LC/G.2060-P p. 81-99 August 2000

Description

The subject-matter of this article lies at the crossroads between the literature on technological change and that on industrial dynamics. The analysis centers on the links between the form of accumulation of technical know-how in an industry and the likelihood that the innovation in question can become a vehicle for the entry of new enterprises into the sector. The studies on the developed countries tackle this matter through two approaches: that of technological regimes and that based on the life-cycle of industry. Both these concepts are of an evolutionary nature and are set forth in section II below. After analysing whether the different sectoral forms of innovation are associated with different rates, characteristics and survival prospects for firms entering an industry, section III seeks to determine what conclusions on dynamics can be drawn from the literature on technological change in the manufacturing firms of the main countries of Latin America. Lastly, section IV offers some final reflections. The main contributions made by this study are the following: i); it offers a different perspective for interpreting technological change in Latin America and seeks to develop a concept equivalent to that of the "innovative advantage" used in studies on the developed countries; ii); it suggests that, in a context in which enterprises mainly innovate through the incorporation of know-how developed by other organizations, established enterprises tend to enjoy advantages for the incorporation of technical progress, and iii); in view of this, it may be assumed that in those activities where product or process innovation creates competitive advantages for established enterprises, "innovative entry" will not be a frequent phenomenon.