Technological change and international competitiveness: the case of Switzerland.
The paper presents the preliminary results of a research project on the relationship between technological and trade performance with a special focus on Switzerland. The analysis is based on two sources of data: a dataset based on patent applications by firms from major industrialized countries to the European Patent Office (EPO) and a data set on export flows of OECD countries (IMPEX database). For both datasets, the period of time is 1980-1992. The analysis is carried out both for the whole aggregate of manufacturing sectors (WS49) and for a subsample of high-tech sectors (HT49). In the first part of the paper, the relationship between trade and technological variables is analyzed descriptively using indexes of technological (RTA) and trade specialization (RCA). Then, in the second part of the paper, the relationship between trade and technological specialization is analyzed using econometric techniques and exploiting the information contained in the datasets along three dimensions: country, sector, time. Finally, sectoral and geographical patterns of innovative activities are analyzed for the case of Switzerland. The paper broadly confirms the existence of a positive relationship between technological and trade specialization. Such relationship is also stable over time. However, the relationship is not very strong and it holds differently across countries.
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