The diffusion of innovation in low-income countries

Project overview

Project lead: Xiaolan Fu, University of Oxford

Start date: 1 September 2012

End date: 29 February 2016

Project webpage

Research Council project page

Technological innovation is a key element of industrialisation and catch-up in developing countries, but innovation tends to be highly concentrated in developed countries and among a small number of firms. The transfer, adoption and adaptation of knowledge to low-income countries (LICs) is therefore an important issue for economic growth and global development.

This research project explored determinants and transmission channels for effective innovation creation, diffusion and adoption in LICs under institutional, resource and affordability constraints. In particular, it looked at:

  • The barriers to innovation creation and diffusion in LICs under institutional, resource and affordability constraints and the space for innovation policy;
  • The determinants of knowledge diffusion in LICs from leading innovators to latecomers, in particular the role of university-industry linkage and inter-firm networks;
  • The effect of external knowledge diffusion to LICs, in particular the productivity impact of South-South trade and FDI with a special focus on Chinese trade and FDI in Africa;
  • Developing an SME open innovation network model to increase frugal innovation for the poorer societies in LICs.