DP5286 | Wake Up and Smell the Ginseng: The Rise of Incremental Innovation in Low-Wage Countries

Publication Date

23/10/2005

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Abstract

Increasingly, a small number of low-wage countries such as China and India are involved in innovation - not the `big ideas', but the constant incremental innovations needed to stay ahead in business. We provide some evidence of this and develop a model in which there is a transition from old-style product-cycle trade to trade involving incremental innovation in low-wage countries. We explain why levels of involvement in innovation vary across low-wage countries and even across firms in each low-wage country. We then draw out the implications of this for the location of production, trade, capital flows, earnings and living standards.