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Generating Technological Knowledge to Build Competitiveness

By Federico Mazzella ,
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How the accumulation of technological knowledge impacts the competitiveness of Latin America and the Caribbean.

A group of researchers who are studying the regional innovation process have recently coined a new term in Spanish, capabilidad, which combines the notions of capacity and skill while also encompassing other qualities such as aptitude, experience, potential, know-how, intellectual faculty, and competence. The word is a literal translation of the English term “capability” and is a reference to the work of the Korean economist Linsu Kim.

In La importancia de la capabilidad tecnológica en un mundo global [The importance of technological capability in a global world], Patricio Meller and Pablo Parodi cite Kim’s definition of capability: “the ability to make effective use of technological knowledge in efforts to assimilate, use, adapt, and change existing technologies. It also enables one to create new technologies and to develop new products and processes in response to a changing economic environment.”

Meller and Parodi’s study focuses on the microeconomic dimension of firms and emphasizes the role of the “technological capability” that accumulates within these in explaining how an economy’s comparative and competitive advantages develop. In so doing, it seeks to explain, albeit in part, each country’s international integration pattern.

The authors suggest that proactive policies are needed to build technological capability within firms. They examine four specific mechanisms for generating technological capability: reverse engineering, manufacturing original machinery, foreign direct investment, and government procurement to promote innovation.

The book forms part of an analytical tradition that links innovation processes with the international integration of Latin American countries. Bisang and Fuchs (2017) uses a similar conceptual framework.

 

Meller, P., and P. Parodi. 2017. La importancia de la capabilidad tecnológica en un mundo global [The importance of technological capability in a global world]. Santiago de Chile: CIEPLAN.

Bisang, R., and M. Fuchs. 2017. Capabilidad tecnológica e innovación: Argentina [Technological capability and innovation: Argentina Study presented at the international workshop on How to Accelerate Innovation in Natural Resources.

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