Climbing the technology ladder too fast? New evidence on comparative productivity performance in Asian manufacturing

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This paper attempts to shed new light on the debate about the sources of rapid growth in Asian manufacturing. For the period from 1963 to 1997, a comparison of productivity levels in India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Taiwan with the United States as the reference country is provided. Using the industry-of-origin approach to international comparisons, varying development patterns are found for seven major manufacturing branches. Nevertheless, for all branches gaps in relative labor productivity and total factor productivity with the United States appeared to be big. Based on a technology ladder model, it is argued that low productivity might be due to rapid introduction of new technologies, leaving little time for efficient assimilation. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-72
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the Japanese and International Economies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2002


  • technology
  • international comparisons
  • productivity
  • manufacturing
  • Asia

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