What are the factors driving academy-industry linkages in latecomer firms: Evidence from Mexico
Sampedro, José Luis
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It is now widely recognized that Universities can play a fundamental role on the performance of the firms’ innovation activities, because they are the main producers and transmitters of knowledge (Narin, Hamilton and Olivestro, 1997; Cohen, Nelson and Walsh, 2002; Arocena and Sutz, 2001). In the pursuit of innovation, firms interact with other organizations to gain, develop and exchange various kinds of knowledge, information and other resources (Edquist, 1997, 2001). In the context of the so called “Knowledge Based Economy”, the reliance of firms on knowledge built in the Universities has become even more important than in the past (Etzkowitz et al, 2000; Brundenius et al, 2008). A major reason for this is an enlargement in the complexity of production (Howells, 2000). So that, many governments of both, developed and developing countries have introduced an increasing range of policies encouraging the involvement of Higher Education Institutes and also Public Research Centers (HEI/PRC) in technology transfer to firms (D’Este and Patel, 2007; Arocena and Sutz, 2001). In the case of developing countries, HEI/PRC might be a vehicle through which technologies and organizational forms of advanced countries can be absorbed locally. They have also the potential to generate appropriate technological inputs in close interaction with local firms. Despite the growing interest among academics and policy makers, there are a number of gaps in our understanding of academy-industry linkages. In particular, most of the literature on this issue has centred on developed countries, and the academic capacities of HEI/PRC. Much less has been written regarding in detail the state and characteristics of academy-industry linkages looking at the firm’s perspective, particularly in latecomer countries. This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the modes of Academy-Industry interaction and the factors explaining them in the case of latecomer firms. Structural and innovation effort related factors have been introduced in a logistic model (logit binomial and multinomial models), in order to analyse a sample of Mexican manufacturing firms. Linkages with HEI and PRC are distinguished looking for different interaction paths. The paper is organised as follows: after this introduction, section 2 reviews basic literature on this issue, section 3 describes the data and methods, section 4 discusses the findings, and finally section 5 contains some reflections.