Technology and National Competitiveness: Oligopoly, Technological Innovation, and International Competition


281 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-7735-0827-9
DDC 382'.1042




Edited by Jorge Niosi
Reviewed by Jeffrey Moon

Jeffrey Moon is Documents Reference/Data Centre Librarian at Queen’s


This is a rich compilation of papers presented at the International
Seminar on Oligopoly, Technological Innovation, and International
Competition, held in 1987 at the University of Quebec. The book is
organized into four parts: “Technology, Energy and International
Trade”; “State, Technology, and Competitiveness”; “Technological
Development and Government Strategy”; and “Industrial Structure and

Part 1 highlights the growing role of technological factors in
industrial production and world trade, using the Canadian energy
industry as a model for discussion. Part 2 looks at technological
competitiveness as a factor of structural competitiveness. A nation’s
competitiveness, while being a function of the average competitiveness
of its firms, is also a function of certain “externalities” that
are, in large part, influenced by the state (e.g., exchange rates,
public R&D funding, job training programs). Part 3 looks at the role of
government strategies to boost technological development, paying
particular attention to improvements made in certain developing
countries. Part 4 focuses on market conditions and those enterprises
best suited for innovative activity.

Niosi, who contributes as well as edits, observes that the authors of
these papers are hesitant to defend the “neo-classical” theories of
international trade, because these theories neglect the role of the
state in influencing technological change. If anything, this book
highlights the importance of the state in influencing such change.

As in the case with many compilations of conference proceedings,
publication was delayed significantly. Major changes in world politics
and economies may have altered the applicability of certain of the
book’s arguments.

The book is well organized, with good use of subheadings to guide
readers to points of particular interest. Abstracts are included at the
start of each paper. In conclusion, this book offers a worthwhile and
readable source of scholarship on the relationships between national
competitiveness and technological advances.


“Technology and National Competitiveness: Oligopoly, Technological Innovation, and International Competition,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,