Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice
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Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice
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Last updated August 7, 2023
Xavier Cirera is a senior economist in the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation (FCI) Global Practice of the World Bank. His work focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship. He has led the evaluation of innovation policies, including through the development of public expenditure reviews in science, technology, and innovation implemented in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ukraine, and Vietnam. He is the coauthor of The Innovation Paradox: Developing-Country Capabilities and the Unrealized Promise of Technological Catch-Up and A Practitioner’s Guide to Innovation Policy: Instruments to Build Firm Capabilities and Accelerate Technological Catch-Up in Developing Countries. His most recent work focuses on the measurement and impact of technology adoption and diffusion. Before joining the World Bank, he served as a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. He holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Sussex.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung MinThis study collects data on the sophistication of technologies used at the business function level for a representative sample of firms in Vietnam, Senegal, and the Brazilian state of Ceara. The analysis finds a large variance in technology sophistication across the business functions of a firm. The within-firm variance in technology sophistication is greater than the variance in sophistication across firms, which in turn is greater than the variance in sophistication across regions or countries. The paper documents a stable cross-firm relationship between technology at the business function and firm levels, which it calls the technology curve. Significant heterogeneity is uncovered in the slopes of the technology curves across business functions, a finding that is consistent with non-homotheticities in firm-level technology aggregators. Firm productivity is positively associated with the within-firm variance and the average level of technology sophistication. Development accounting exercises show that cross-firm variation in technology accounts for one-third of cross-firm differences in productivity and one-fifth of the agricultural versus non-agricultural gap in cross-country differences in firm productivity.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-05) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung MinTechnology is key to boost productivity and generate more and better quality jobs in Senegal. This paper uses a novel approach to measure technology adoption at the firm level and applies it to a representative sample of firms in Senegal. It provides new measures of technology adoption at the firm level, which identify the purposes for which technologies are used and analyzes some of the key barriers to improving technology adoption at the firm level in Senegal. First, the adoption of general-purpose information and communications technologies, such as computers, the internet, and cloud computing for business purpose, is low but very heterogeneous and positively associated with size and formal status. Second, most firms still rely on pre-digital technologies to perform general business functions, such as business administration, production planning, supply chain management, marketing, sales, and payment. Third, most firms, including large and formal firms, still rely on manual methods or manually operated machines to perform critical pro duction tasks that are sector specific, such as harvesting in agriculture or packaging in food processing. The paper presents evidence of three main challenges to improve technology adoption: access to finance, information, and knowledge (firm capabilities), and access to markets and competition.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-06-15) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min ; Martins-Neto, AntonioThere is limited evidence on the role of participating in international trade in the diffusion of technologies. This paper analyzes the impact of exporting on firms’ adoption of more sophisticated technologies, using a novel dataset, the Firm-level Adoption of Technology survey, which includes more than 1,500 firms in Brazil. The survey provides detailed information on the use of more than 300 technologies, combined with data from Brazil’s census of formal workers and export data from the Ministry of Trade. To address critical endogeneity concerns, the analysis applies difference-in-differences with multiple periods to examine the effects of entering export markets on technology adoption. The findings show that exporting has a positive effect on firms’ likelihood of adopting advanced technologies in business functions related to business administration, production planning, supply chain management, and quality control, which are important for managing tasks associated with export activities.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min ; Soares Martins-Neto, AntonioThis paper describes the results of a new firm survey to measure technology use and adoption implemented prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam. It analyzes the use and adoption of technology among Vietnamese firms and identifies some of the key barriers to adoption and diffusion. The analysis offers new and important stylized facts on firm-level use of technologies. First, although access to the internet is almost universal in Vietnam, firms had low digital readiness to face the COVID-19 pandemic; and the share of establishments with their own website, social media, and cloud computing is still small. Second, the use of Industry 4.0 technologies is incipient. Third, the technology gap with the use of frontier technologies in some general business functions, such as quality control, production planning, sales, and sourcing and procurement, is large. Fourth, the manufacturing sector faces the largest technological gap, larger than services and agricultural firms. The analysis of the main barriers and drivers to technology adoption and use shows the importance of good management quality for technology adoption, and that there is a technology premium associated with exporting activities. Finally, the analysis also shows that firms are largely unaware of the available public policy support for technology upgrading.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, Marcio ; Lee, Kyung Min ; Soares Martins-Neto, AntonioThis paper uses a novel approach to measure technology adoption at the firm level and applies it to a representative sample of firms in the state of Ceará in Brazil. The paper develops a new measure of technology adoption at the firm level, which identifies the purpose for which technologies are used and the intensive and extensive uses. The survey allows for establishing several new stylized facts for Ceará. First, most firms still rely on pre-digital technologies to perform general business functions, such as business administration, marketing, sales and payments, or quality control. Second, these technology gaps are larger in smaller firms, in the manufacturing sector, with large gaps when it comes to Industry 3.0 and digitalization, and especially large in Industry 4.0 technologies. The paper also presents some evidence that the main challenge to accelerate technology adoption is lack of firm capabilities. Despite the availability of technology extension services in the state, firms are still unaware of the availability of support and unwilling to upgrade technologies.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-06-15) Cirera, Xavier ; Comin, Diego ; Cruz, MarcioMany of the main problems facing developing countries today and tomorrow--growth, poverty reduction, inequality, food insecurity, job creation, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and adjustment to climate change--hinge on adopting better technology, a key driver of economic development. Access to technology is not enough: firms have to adopt it. Yet it is precisely the uptake of technology that is lagging in many firms in developing countries. The COVID-19 pandemic drove a big uptake of technology, especially digital technologies. Bridging the Technological Divide: Technology Adoption by Firms in Developing Countries takes advantage of this shift to delve into which firms have adopted and use technologies and to what purpose. To do so, it proposes a new approach to measure and understand the adoption and use of technologies by firms. Specifically, it leverages a new data collection instrument, the Firm-level Adoption of Technology (FAT) survey, which provides a very rich characterization of the technologies used and the processes of adoption by firms in developing countries. This book helps open the “black box” of technology adoption by firms. The seventh volume in the World Bank’s Productivity Project series, it will further both research and policy that can be used to support technology adoption by firms in developing countries.