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New wine in old bottles: technological diffusion in developed economies


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Robertson, PL 2007 , 'New wine in old bottles: technological diffusion in developed economies' , Research Policy, vol. 36, no. 5 , pp. 708-721 , doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2007.01.008.

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As new and old technologies generally co-exist in the complex production methods that characterise major sectors of modern
developed economies, it is important for policy makers to analyse them together in order to take full advantage of complementarities
and optimise outcomes for entire economies rather than for individual industries. In this article, we look at the interrelationships
between technologies of different vintages from three perspectives. Firstly, we develop a short theoretical model to demonstrate the
reciprocal connections between industries that are generally described as being ‘high technology’ with the other sectors that rely
more heavily on ‘non-high tech’ methods. Through the use of input–output and patent data, we then show that long-established
industries that are not generally thought of as being high tech often employ cutting-edge knowledge in their own research and
development and, by extension, in their other activities. Finally, we use sectoral case studies to show how so-called high tech
knowledge is used in specific long-established industries. Our conclusion is that relationships between high tech and non-high tech
sectors are highly symbiotic and that the health of high tech firms and industries depends heavily on their ability to sell their outputs
to other sectors in developed economies.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Robertson, PL
Keywords: Low and medium technology industries; Technological diffusion; Technological upgrading
Journal or Publication Title: Research Policy
Publisher: Elsevier BV
ISSN: 0048-7333
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.respol.2007.01.008
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