Industrial organisation

Dominick Bartelme, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 26 June 2015

Specialisation has been extensively researched at the micro and macro levels, but the middle one has received little attention. This column argues that the middle level – linkages across firms and industries within a country – can be important in economic development. Having built a database of input-output tables for a broad spectrum of countries and times, the authors show that countries with stronger linkages have indeed higher productivity.  

Yasuyuki Todo, Petr Matous, 26 June 2015

Firm networks affect innovation and growth through diffusion of knowledge and information. This column argues that promoting ties with firms outside of the region should be an important part of cluster policies. Such ties can bring new information to the region and can enhance innovation. Distant firm partners can also help in the short-run recovery after a disaster, as was the case following the 2011 earthquake in Japan.

Rune Dahl Fitjar, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 24 June 2015

Policymakers have used a variety of measures to promote firm innovation but their exact impact remains unclear. This column argues that regional context, proxied by investment in R&D and education levels, is fundamental in shaping the innovative performance of firms. The local socioeconomic environment either favours or limits the innovative capacity of firms, depending on their level of interaction both with neighbouring and distant economic actors.

Henri De Groot, Gerard Marlet, Coen Teulings, Wouter Vermeulen, 21 June 2015

Only a few decades ago many talked about the ‘death of cities’. Today, many cities have emerged as hubs of economic activity. This column argues such a phenomenon is due to spill-overs and agglomeration of human capital. The popularity of certain cities is explained by their attractiveness for innovative enterprises and high-educated top talent. But since locations where top talent clusters are scarce, land rents on these locations are high.

Petr Matous, Yasuyuki Todo, 16 June 2015

Japanese business groups, or keiretsu – cartels of companies with interlocking interests – have contributed much to the success of Japanese manufacturing in the 20th century. This column explores the future of this form of corporate governance, amid increasing calls for their dissolution. An examination of trade networks in the automotive industry shows that automakers no longer exhibit a preference for dealing with keiretsu partners. Globalisation, procurement scandals, and advances in modularisation have helped to erode the benefits of these long-term relationships.

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