Technology upgrading of middle income economies: A new approach and results
We explore issues of measurement for technology upgrading of the economies moving from middle to highincome status. In exploring this issue, we apply theoretically relevant and empirically grounded middle level conceptual and statistical framework based on three dimensions: (i) Intensity (ii) breadth of technological upgrading, and (iii) technology and knowledge exchange. As an outcome, we construct a three-pronged composite indicator of technology upgrading based on 35 indicators which reflect different drivers and patterns of technology upgrading of countries at different income levels. We show that technology upgrading of middle-income economies is distinctively different from that of low and high-income economies. Our results suggest the existence of middle-income trap in technology upgrading – i.e. countries' technology upgrading activities are not reflected in their income levels. Based on the simple statistical analysis we show that the middle-income trap is present in all three aspects of technology upgrading, but their importance varies across different aspects. A trap seems to be higher for ‘breadth’ of technology upgrading than for ‘intensity’ of technology upgrading and is by far the highest for the dimension of knowledge and technology interaction with the global economy. Finally, our research shows that technology upgrading is a multidimensional process and that it would be methodologically wrong to aim for an aggregate index.