Spillovers, Spin-Offs and the Creation of Knowledge-Intensive Local Suppliers in Mexico.

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW1.3.01 (Tower One)
Oscar F. Contreras, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico
Spillovers, spin-offs and the creation of knowledge-intensive local suppliers in Mexico.

Oscar F. Contreras

Abstract submitted to the Annual SASE Conference 2015

Despite some general agreement on the increased relevance of FDI in national economies, the effects of spillovers are severely disputed, the measurement of such effects is problematic and the micro mechanisms through which they are produced are neither well identified nor explained.

For the last 30 years Mexico assumed an increasingly relevant role in manufacturing for the North American region. In theory, this should result in specific spillover effects that might increase the opportunities for local suppliers. However, most of the research done on the Mexican industry emphasizes the persistent limits in generating local linkages. This specific topic is relevant for the debate on the spillover effects from MNCs over the hosting countries and regions, given the lack of evidence and the theoretical “black box” on the mechanisms operating at the micro level.

This paper is based in a study conducted from 2011 to 2013, designed to gather evidence on new local knowledge-intensive firms within the supplier networks of Multinational Corporations in Mexico.  A total of 100 visits to SME’s plants and owners interviews were conducted, focusing on the origins of the firm, the dynamics of the information flows and knowledge transmission, and the upgrading patterns through the value chain.

The main contribution of this paper consists in the development of a typology of the mechanisms that enable these firms to emerge and evolve, and the identification of two differentiated trajectories based in: a) spin offs and learning by interaction with MNCs, ad b) the institutions and agents of regional innovation systems