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  • Articles and reports: 11F0019M1998120
    Geography: Canada
    Description:

    Considerable attention has been directed at understanding the structural changes that are generating an increased need for skilled workers. These changes are perceived to be the result of developments associated with the emergence of the new knowledge economy, whose potential is often linked to the growth of new technology-based firms (NTBFs). Where are these firms to be found? Related work on changes in technology and innovativeness has been accompanied by the creation of taxonomies that classify industries as high-tech or high-knowledge, based primarily on the characteristics of large firms. There is a temptation to use these taxonomies to identify new technology-based firms only within certain sectors. This paper uses a special survey that collected data on new firms to argue that this would be unwise.

    The paper investigates the limitations of existing classification schemes that might be used to classify industries as high- or low-tech, as advanced or otherwise. Characteristically unidimensional in scope, many of these taxonomies employ conceptual and operational measures that are narrow and incomplete. Consequently, previous rankings that identify sectors as high- or low-tech using these measures obscure the degree of innovativeness and human capital formation exhibited by certain industries. In a policy environment wherein emotive 'scoreboard' classifications have direct effects on resource allocation, the social costs of misclassification are potentially significant.

    Using a comparative methodology, this study investigates the role that conceptualization plays in devising taxonomies of high- and low-tech industries. Far from producing definitive classifications, existing measures of technological advancement are found to be wanting when their underpinnings are examined closely. Our objective in the current analysis is to examine the limitations of standard classification schemes, particularly when applied to new small firms, and to suggest an alternative framework based on a competency-model of the firm.

    Release date: 1998-12-08

  • Articles and reports: 11F0019M1998117
    Geography: Canada
    Description:

    This paper examines the determinants of the adoption lag for advanced technologies in the Canadian manufacturing sector. It uses plant-level data collected on the length of the adoption lag (the time between a firm's first becoming aware of a new technology and its adoption of the technology) to examine the extent to which the adoption lag is a function of the benefits and costs associated with technology adoption as well as certain plant characteristics that are proxies for a plant's receptor capabilities.

    Economic theory suggests that the diffusion of advanced technologies should be a function of the benefits associated with the adoption of new technologies. Other studies have had to proxy the benefits with environmental characteristics-like proximity to markets, fertility of soils, size of firm. This paper makes use of more direct evidence collected from the 1993 Survey of Innovation and Advanced Technology concerning firms' own evaluations of the benefits and costs of adoption along with measures of overall technological competency. Both are found to be highly significant determinants of the adoption lag. Geographical nearness of suppliers decreases the adoption lag. Variables that have been previously used to proxy the benefits associated with technology adoption-variables such as larger firm size, younger age, and more diversification by the parent firm also decrease the adoption lag-but they have much less effect than the direct measure of benefits and firm competency.

    Release date: 1998-08-31

  • Articles and reports: 11F0019M1998098
    Geography: Canada
    Description:

    The 1980s and 1990s have seen a rising share of skilled labour in total employment in the manufacturing sector of Canada. At the same time, the wage premium for skilled workers has increased, thereby increasing the inequality between skilled and unskilled workers. There is a disagreement about the causes of these changes. Several hypotheses have been offered to explain them-increased international competition, changes in the relative supply of more-skilled versus less-skilled workers, and skilled-augmenting technological change. This paper analyzes the nature, pattern and causes of the shifts in the composition of employment in manufacturing. The paper describes the composition of employment in manufacturing. It focuses on the direction and magnitude of shifts in the proportion of nonproduction workers employed within manufacturing and across sectors within manufacturing. It also investigates the extent to which wage differentials between nonproduction and production workers have widened in the 1980s. In addition, it assesses the extent to which these changes are associated with trade and technology use. The results indicate that the rising wage differentials are associated with both increased trade intensity and the types of technologies that are being used in the plant.

    Release date: 1998-05-06
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  • Articles and reports: 11F0019M1998120
    Geography: Canada
    Description:

    Considerable attention has been directed at understanding the structural changes that are generating an increased need for skilled workers. These changes are perceived to be the result of developments associated with the emergence of the new knowledge economy, whose potential is often linked to the growth of new technology-based firms (NTBFs). Where are these firms to be found? Related work on changes in technology and innovativeness has been accompanied by the creation of taxonomies that classify industries as high-tech or high-knowledge, based primarily on the characteristics of large firms. There is a temptation to use these taxonomies to identify new technology-based firms only within certain sectors. This paper uses a special survey that collected data on new firms to argue that this would be unwise.

    The paper investigates the limitations of existing classification schemes that might be used to classify industries as high- or low-tech, as advanced or otherwise. Characteristically unidimensional in scope, many of these taxonomies employ conceptual and operational measures that are narrow and incomplete. Consequently, previous rankings that identify sectors as high- or low-tech using these measures obscure the degree of innovativeness and human capital formation exhibited by certain industries. In a policy environment wherein emotive 'scoreboard' classifications have direct effects on resource allocation, the social costs of misclassification are potentially significant.

    Using a comparative methodology, this study investigates the role that conceptualization plays in devising taxonomies of high- and low-tech industries. Far from producing definitive classifications, existing measures of technological advancement are found to be wanting when their underpinnings are examined closely. Our objective in the current analysis is to examine the limitations of standard classification schemes, particularly when applied to new small firms, and to suggest an alternative framework based on a competency-model of the firm.

    Release date: 1998-12-08

  • Articles and reports: 11F0019M1998117
    Geography: Canada
    Description:

    This paper examines the determinants of the adoption lag for advanced technologies in the Canadian manufacturing sector. It uses plant-level data collected on the length of the adoption lag (the time between a firm's first becoming aware of a new technology and its adoption of the technology) to examine the extent to which the adoption lag is a function of the benefits and costs associated with technology adoption as well as certain plant characteristics that are proxies for a plant's receptor capabilities.

    Economic theory suggests that the diffusion of advanced technologies should be a function of the benefits associated with the adoption of new technologies. Other studies have had to proxy the benefits with environmental characteristics-like proximity to markets, fertility of soils, size of firm. This paper makes use of more direct evidence collected from the 1993 Survey of Innovation and Advanced Technology concerning firms' own evaluations of the benefits and costs of adoption along with measures of overall technological competency. Both are found to be highly significant determinants of the adoption lag. Geographical nearness of suppliers decreases the adoption lag. Variables that have been previously used to proxy the benefits associated with technology adoption-variables such as larger firm size, younger age, and more diversification by the parent firm also decrease the adoption lag-but they have much less effect than the direct measure of benefits and firm competency.

    Release date: 1998-08-31

  • Articles and reports: 11F0019M1998098
    Geography: Canada
    Description:

    The 1980s and 1990s have seen a rising share of skilled labour in total employment in the manufacturing sector of Canada. At the same time, the wage premium for skilled workers has increased, thereby increasing the inequality between skilled and unskilled workers. There is a disagreement about the causes of these changes. Several hypotheses have been offered to explain them-increased international competition, changes in the relative supply of more-skilled versus less-skilled workers, and skilled-augmenting technological change. This paper analyzes the nature, pattern and causes of the shifts in the composition of employment in manufacturing. The paper describes the composition of employment in manufacturing. It focuses on the direction and magnitude of shifts in the proportion of nonproduction workers employed within manufacturing and across sectors within manufacturing. It also investigates the extent to which wage differentials between nonproduction and production workers have widened in the 1980s. In addition, it assesses the extent to which these changes are associated with trade and technology use. The results indicate that the rising wage differentials are associated with both increased trade intensity and the types of technologies that are being used in the plant.

    Release date: 1998-05-06
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