Working Paper Series
Comparisons of Competitiveness in U.S. and Swedish Manufacturing
Abstract: Over the course of the last 10 or 15 years there appears
to be taking place a fundamental shift in the "industrial paradigm"
governing the nature of competition in advanced industrial markets. Among
the characteristics of this shift are a transition from mass production to
flexible manufacturing technologies, reduced time for development of new
products, shorter product life cycles, increased product diversity,
increasing expenditures on industrial R&D, shrinking firm size
("deglomeration"), specialization on "niches" or "core business areas", and
more intense global competition even in products that previously seemed
exempt from such pressures.
The object of this paper is to bring these
themes together by examining the development of the competitive position in
world markets of the United States and Sweden, two countries which are
apparently pursuing very different strategies in dealing with the new
challenges. The first part of the paper examines the international trade
performance of the two countries with emphasis on different patterns of
trade with respect to goods of varying research and development intensity.
A simple model for analyzing the differences in performance is suggested in
the second section. The third section draws together fragments of empirical
evidence in support of the hypothesis.
Keywords: Competition in industrial markets; production methods; R&D; specialisation; trade performance; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: F10; L23; L25; O32; O57; (follow links to similar papers)
59 pages, December 1989
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