Indigenous and Foreign Innovation Efforts and Drivers of Technological Upgrading: Evidence from China (Xiaolan Fu and Yundan Gong)

This paper explores the drivers of technology upgrading in emerging economies using a recent Chinese firm-level panel dataset over the 2001-2005 period. It extends the Directed Technical Change theory by considering differences in technology intensities across industries within a country; examines the drivers of technical
change, efficiency improvement and TFP growth in Chinese manufacturing firms; and explores the roles of indigenous innovations and foreign technology. It finds that FDI contributes to static industry capabilities by advanced technologies embedded in imported machineries, but not to dynamic technological capabilities of indigenous firms in developing countries. Collective indigenous R&D activities at industry level are the major driver of technology upgrading of indigenous firms that push up the technology frontier. Policy implications are discussed.

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