Acquiring high-technology capability: the case of the Brazilian informatics industry
This dissertation examines the development of high-technology capability in a developing country, using the example of the Brazilian informatics industry. Technological capability, essentially the ability to use technology effectively, accumulates through 'learning' resulting from the technological efforts of people, firms, and regions. There are two highly interdependent components to high-technology capability: first, the positive use of foreign technology and the development of an indigenous research capability, and second, the development of supporting infrastructures. Infrastructures are based on supporting institutional structures, such as universities, firms, markets, and suppliers, and on the spatial linkages that connect these structures. Higher stages of technological capability are fostered by the development of human resources, research networks, and infrastructural spatial agglomerations.Government policies may help stimulate these efforts through industry protection and regulation of foreign technology, and by improving the technological infrastructure. In the case of the Brazilian informatics industry, policy extends beyond the past pattern of import substitution by reserving low-end segments of the domestic computer market to nationally owned companies, effectively eliminating competition from multinational corporations. Brazil's protectionist policies can be criticized on the grounds of higher production costs and lagging technological levels, however, this research illustrates that the domestic computer industry has contributed to the development of technological capabilities; namely the intensification of the human infrastructure, the deepening of research and development capabilities in industry, government, and university centers, and the improved ability to select, adapt, and develop technologies appropriate and beneficial to the national situation.
- Geography