Intra-regional distribution of technological capabilities: a multiple case study research of carmakers operating in the Mercosur

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Obaya, Martin


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2013)


Since the last decade, a large number of Gerpisa’s contributors have shed light over the process of technological capabilities accumulation of Brazilian carmakers’ subsidiaries . As shown in these studies, manufacturing units sited in this country have progressively acquired engineering skills to introduce alterations in process and product specifications originally conceived abroad. In some cases, they were able to develop new platforms (for instance, Fiat).
However, as these studies have been mainly circumscribed to the analysis of learning processes conducted within the Brazilian boundaries, they have not been able to grasp the impact these processes have had on the rest of the member countries of the Mercosur (which is the geographical space around which they have organised their activities; see, for instance, Laplane and Sarti (2004); López et al. (2008)).
This issue was early raised by Quadros and Queiroz (2001) in a brief article, but was not developed in depth in the specialised literature. It has, however, significant implications for the intra-regional distribution of technological capabilities among member countries of the integration agreement –and, potentially, as shown by the ‘evolutionary’ literature, on their development perspectives (see, for instance, Bell and Pavitt (1995)).
This article aims at discussing the preliminary findings of a PhD research project on the two following issues: firstly, the process of capability accumulation of carmakers’ subsidiaries located in Argentina and Brazil between 1991 and 2011; and secondly, the evolution of the regional organisation of knowledge-creating activities within the same period of time.

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