The sources and directions of technological capability accumulation in Korean semiconductor industry

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In this paper we analyze the technological accumulation processes in the Korean semiconductor industry from the institutional approach. Institutional approach, which is closely connected with Neo-Schumpeterian tradition, has emerged as an alternative theoretical framework to neoclassical approach to understand the process of producing technological knowledge. Traditional wisdom of neoclassical approach revealed the limitation to explain the complex nature of knowledge creation and diffusion. US patent data are analyzed in terms of the increasing trend of numbers and its content to measure the rate and direction of technological capability accumulation. This analysis shows that semiconductor technologies are one of the fastest growing fields among Korean technological activities. Moreover, the analysis of patent content suggests that fabrication technologies are the most important area within the technological development of semiconductors, whilst circuit design and testing technologies are beginning to increase in significance. In addition, it is examined how private sectors and public institutions have contributed to generate technological capabilities, and the relationship between them has been changed during the development processes. It is found that Korean firms enhanced their technological capabilities from the learning and assimilation of imported technology to enhanced in-house R&D capabilities in the later stage. The support of public institution and government policy also played significant role to this successful transformation in conjunction with the vigorous R&D investment of public sector.
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ETRI JOURNAL, v.20, no.1, pp.55 - 73

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MG-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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