Working Papers

C. Fassio: Sectoral Systems or Distance-to-the-Frontier Effects on Innovation?

This study analyzes empirically whether the Sectoral Systems of Innovation or the Distance- to-the-Frontier perspective more accurately describe the patterns of innovation in medium- technology sectors in Germany, Italy and Spain. While the Sectoral Systems of Innovation predicts the existence of technology-related similarities in innovative patterns in the same sectors across countries, the Distance-to-the Frontier suggests the existence of important differences related with the level of technological development of each national sector. Using Community Innovation Survey data and applying an econometric strategy specifically devised for innovations survey I am able to test a set of hypotheses directly related with each of the two theories. The results of the econometric analysis show that relevant differences across countries exist with respect to the intensity of R&D activities and the economic impact of different types of innovations, confirming the Distance-to-the-Frontier hypothesis, while great cross-country similarity emerges among the sources of knowledge used to develop new innovations, in line with the Sectoral Systems of Innovation framework. The results highlight the importance to take into account both frameworks for a useful analysis of innovation within sectors.

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