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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 28 No. 1 (Winter 2014)

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Competing in Advanced Manufacturing: The Need for Improved Growth Models and Policies

Article Citation

Tassey, Gregory. 2014. "Competing in Advanced Manufacturing: The Need for Improved Growth Models and Policies." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(1): 27-48.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.28.1.27

Abstract

The United States has underinvested for several decades in a set of productivity-enhancing assets necessary for the long-term health of its manufacturing sector. Conventional characterizations of the process of bringing new advanced manufacturing products to market usually leave out two important elements: One is "proof-of-concept research" to establish broad "technology platforms" that can then be used as a basis for developing actual products. The second is a technical infrastructure of "infratechnologies" that include the analytical tools and standards needed for measuring and classifying the components of the new technology; metrics and methods for determining the adequacy of the multiple performance attributes of the technology; and the interfaces among hardware and software components that must work together for a complex product to perform as specified. If the public–private dynamics are not properly aligned to encourage proof-of-concept research and needed infratechnologies, then promising advances in basic science can easily fall into a "valley of death" and fail to evolve into modern advanced manufacturing technologies that are ready for the marketplace. Each major technology has a degree of uniqueness that demands government support sufficiently sophisticated to allow efficient adaptation to the needs of its particular industry, whether semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, computers, communications equipment, medical equipment, or some other technology-based industry.

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Authors

Tassey, Gregory (Economic Policy Research Center, U WA)

JEL Classifications

L60: Industry Studies: Manufacturing: General
O31: Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
O33: Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
O47: Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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