International Economics and Economic Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 215–253 | Cite as

Technology diffusion, international integration and participation in developing economies - a review of major concepts and findings

  • T. Gries
  • R. Grundmann
  • I. Palnau
  • M. Redlin
Original Paper


Technical change is a major driving force for economic growth and development, thus technological change and innovations could be a powerful process that opens up opportunities to increase social welfare and benefits for societies. Whether opportunities turn into real benefits and allow for broad participation depends on a number of factors. In this contribution, we focus on three questions. First, what are the drivers of and the gains from technological change? Second, is there broad participation in the gains from technological change? Third, what mechanisms generate asymmetric participation or even non-participation? Reviewing the literature, we obtain two sets of answers, one set for developed countries (DCs) and one for less developed countries (LDCs). This contribution links up to the article Innovations, Growth and Participation in Advanced Economies - A Review of Major Concepts and Findings (published in the previous issue of IEEP) in which the process of innovation as well as the effects of technological change on growth and distribution has already been discussed for advanced economies. In this contribution, the focus is on developing economies. Technology that originated in DCs is transferred to LDCs. We identify the channels of technological transfer that allow LDCs to potentially participate in the benefits. Here, the development of the modern sector with links to international value chains plays a major role. However, global diffusion of technology and its gains are very diverse. Reasons for this diverse participation in gains include power structures in global value chains combined with an excess supply of labor and the malfunctioning of local governments and institutions in LDCs.


Technological change Global technological transfer Structural transformation Development Inclusiveness 

JEL classification

F15 F16 I24 J31 O14 O15 O33 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PaderbornInternational Growth and Business Cycle TheoryPaderbornGermany

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