Resource- Based Industries Innovation in Resource-Based Technology Clusters: Investigating the Lateral Migration Thesis – Knowledge intensification in resource-based economies, technological learning and industrial policy

by LORENTZEN, J. , 2006
Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

Lorentzen reviews the concept of the thesis for lateral migration of technology from resource based industries. The central idea is that resource based economies can generate know-how and intellectual property by solving problems in the service of their industries. This know how and IP can be laterally migrated into other non-resource based industries and applications. It is a critical approach for economies that rely on non-renewable resources for their growth and exports. Lorenzten proposes that economies can excel contemporaneously in resource extraction and in the creation of the intellectual capital at the heart of the knowledge economy. He shows that new developments in our understanding of the determinants of technological learning, plus what went on in the past in countries as diverse as Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, the US, or Sweden, do bear lessons for resource-based countries today. This study contributes to the discussion in two novel ways. The first is the focus on technological trajectories that start in or around resource-based activities and subsequently become more knowledge intensive. Hence the study traces forward linkages. It thus shows the direct contribution resource-based activities make to the knowledge intensification of the economy at large. It analyses the co-evolution of resource- and knowledge-intensive modes of production. Much though not all of the relevant literature merely looks at the co-existence of the two.