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Title: Knowledge and skills in the global economy : the case of the European biotechnology industry
Author: Hayward, Sally
ISNI:       0000 0001 3549 8724
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis examines the suggestion that the Western economies are witnessing the globalisation of markets, production, finance and knowledge which has placed severe limits on the economic role of national governments, and that effective public policy is now restricted to the promotion of education and training which is the chief determinant of national competitiveness in the new global, knowledge-intensive economy. In practice, governments have become heavy supporters of knowledgeintensive industries through policies aimed mainly at upgrading human capital. This view of the role of economic policy amounts to a new academic and policy orthodoxy and is subject to critical examination in this thesis. This thesis contends that some convergence of economic systems has occurred with national economic development enmeshed in a global economy in which some positions are more rewarding than others. At the same time, the nation-state remains central to shaping industrial activity. Nowhere is this argument more true than in `high technology or `knowledgeintensive' sectors where increasing returns apply and where government policies continue to play a critical role in determining industrial development. These arguments are examined through a case study of skills and training issues in European biotechnology - purportedly a sector exposed to processes of globalisation. The study reveals the explanatory limits of the new orthodoxy. It reveals a picture of biotechnology in which economic development is far more complex than originally assumed at the beginning of the skill shortage study. The economic validity of the argument that investments in skills and training are a panacea to improving productivity in a knowledge-intensive industries and are thus the key to the economicprosperity of nations is criticised. It is shown how popular assumptions in relation to the scientific labour market are misplaced and inappropriate. The development of the sector is shown to have been heavily influenced by the operation of national structures and the ways in which these have structured the level and nature of demand for the industry's products and the availability of investment finance for new technologies. Significant changes in the dimensions of national biotechnology industries are acknowledged to have occurred through the globalisation of capital and markets, but the role of the national environment and of the strategic choices of governments in developing the sector are seen to have been highly influential in shaping the dynamics of the industry. Although the failure of the European biotechnology industry to develop at the pace originally envisaged has been attributed to skill shortages, it is argued that the pace of economic development in this sector has been influenced also by the power of national and transnational social groups, differential access to knowledge and finance - in short by the combination of the institutional characteristics of national societies and the emerging power of transnational movements
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Science policy; Globalization; Industrial policy