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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter explores the long-run evolution of Italy's performance in technological innovation as a function of international technology transfer, reconstructing the different phases and dimensions of Italian innovative activity, tracking the transfer of foreign technological knowledge through a number of channels, analyzing the impact of imported technology. The study is based on a newly constructed dataset, over the 1861-2009 period, composed of variables related to innovation activity performance, foreign technology transfer, and domestic absorptive and innovative capability. The analysis highlights, also by econometric assessment, the significant contribution of foreign technology to innovation activity results. Machinery imports and the accumulation of technical human capital contributed positively to innovation activity; inward FDI contributed positively to productivity growth, but not to indigenous innovation activity results. Differences across channels of technology transfer and historical phases emerge, also in connection with the evolution of human capital endowment and domestic innovative capacity.

Keywords: absorptive capability, FDI, innovation, machinery imports, patents, technical human capital, technology transfer

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