Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2011/1: SMEs´ absorptive capacities and large firms´ knowledge spillovers: Micro evidence from Mexico

Claudia De Fuentes () and Gabriela Dutrénit ()
Additional contact information
Claudia De Fuentes: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Gabriela Dutrénit: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Postal: Mexico

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between large firms´ knowledge spillovers and small and medium enterprises absorptive capacities. We build ad-hoc indicators for these two concepts following a factor analysis methodology, and we carry out a structural equations analysis to determine the relationship between them. Based on firm level original data from a survey that focuses on SMEs in a Mexican locality, this paper argues that in a low-tech and mature sector, such as the machine shop sector, that operates in a loosely articulated local system, two knowledge spillover mechanisms are relevant: the backward linkages and the employees´ mobility. Regarding SMEs’ absorptive capacities they are strongly influenced by organizational capabilities and innovation and learning activities. We also argue that large firms’ knowledge spillovers are strongly correlated to SMEs absorptive capacities within the sector and locality analyzed.

Keywords: Absorptive capacities; Knowledge spillovers; SME-large firms interaction; Mexico

JEL-codes: O30

28 pages, January 20, 2011

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