In this paper, an analysis of patents issued in Canada is made. The results of this analysis induce the author to question a hypothesis that was implicit in previous studies. According to this hypothesis, inventions used by a given industry origin in the same industry and only the technological effort of an industry can lead to inventions useful to that industry. The results suggest that a large number of industries profit from technology developed by a small number of industries.
In this paper, the technological progress is measured by the relative change in total unit costs when input prices are constant and when the scale of production is optimal, that is where marginal cost intersects with average cost. The conceptual framework for a measurement of technological change is presented in the first section. Optimal scale and minimum average cost are therein illustrated, to elaborate, afterwards, on the decomposition of technical change in three major components. The approach to analyze the time pattern of substitution possibilities is given attention to as well as the analysis of heterotheticity and of various types of technological biases. The second section deals briefly with the econometrics of technology estimation on a sectoral basis. The technology is modelled through a "translog" cost function, that proves to be a second order approximation of any cost function. It is worthwhile to point out that this function may exhibit timevarying substitution elasticities as well as variable returns to scale. A brief discussion of the data used follows. The methodology was applied to Electrical and Chemical product industries, at the three digits level. In the third section, the empirical results are analyzed. They allowed to characterize the substitution profile, the scale and technological biases. They lead, also, to a decomposition analysis of technological change in three major components: efficiency effect, scale effect and bias effect. The analysis was related to 16 subsectors in the Canadian manufacturing, over the period 1961-1976.
In this paper it is argued that the conventional estimation of production functions may be misleading for the study of technological progress and technology choice in developing countries. The analysis of technical progress and technology transfers requires empirical production functions which should reflect accurately the state of technology and productivity in a given country or region. The neoclassical production function embracing as an envelope all observations in an industry is likely to overstate the number of techniques already established in the region. It may therefore underestimate the technical progress achieved by further transfers. The problem lies in the very concept of technological progress which is defined as a shift of the universal production function and excludes movements along the production isoquant.
As to the choice of technology the estimation of the elasticity of substitution may be equally misleading for the purpose of predicting changes of factor use caused by factor price changes. The substitution possibilites between factors of production in the actually existing choice set of techniques for a given country or region are better described by the concept of a technology shelf. Two important characteristics of the technology shelf are the range and density of substitution. It is argued that industrial engineering information should be used to better describe the technology shelf. In its empirical part, using data of the manufacturing sector of Zaire, the paper shows how such engineering information may be used to estimate the range and density of substitution.
Technological progress has two main regional implications: (a) to create employment out of technological progress, local generation of innovations is not essential; all that counts is access to innovation. Consequently, the relationship between local R. & D. and regional economic performance (measured by jobs created) is very variable. At worst, local R. & D. can profit mainly other regions of the country. (b) Because of the workings of the product cycle, peripheral regions inherit periodically decentralizable portions of high technology industries which can use cheap non-specialized labour; they also inherit matured industries (which have reached a low level of technology). Ceterisparibus, initially, the workings of the product cycle tend not to favour these regions in terms of technology.
This paper examines the impact of US firms on technological competitiveness in Europe between 1955-75 through a dynamic application of the eclectic theory of international trade and production. It looks at the improvement in the trading performance of European countries, and finds that in certain larger countries and sectors that indigenous firms also improved their position. This is further found to be related to the transfer of technology from the US to Europe, and its diffusion to European firms where this has taken place.
The analysis presentd in this paper aim at determining to what degree the R & D activity of a firm contributes to its propensity to export, considering the other potential factors that might influence its international competitiveness. This analysis is based on data resulting from a recent investigation on innovation made by De MeIto for the Economic Council of Canada.