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Regional appropriability: The case of the WARD programme in Western Australia

Saupin, Mark G. (1995) Regional appropriability: The case of the WARD programme in Western Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This study examines the link between industrial R&D and industrial innovation. It studies government R&D granting programmes and specifically the Western Australian Research and Development (WARD) grants programme. An evaluation of the WARD grants programme, coupled with case analysis, is used to obtain the empirical evidence for this study.

The concept of regional appropriability, or the ability of a nation. or subordinate region, to capture the benefits from public investments in industrial R&D, is central to this study. The scholarly and policy literature are examined in order to ascertain whether there are any explicit or implicit assumptions made relating to regional appropriability, and the factors on which it depends. The concept of regional appropriability is then used as a general measure of the efficacy of government intervention tools, and specifically, as a benchmark against which the WARD programme is evaluated, and the case analysis conducted.

This study demonstrates that the Western Australian economy has not captured as much of the benefits, as expected by the State Government, from the WARD programme. It finds that this is due, largely, to government's view, that the link between industrial R&D and the delivery of benefits is grounded in static, economic and mechanistic terms. The delivery of benefits is, however, fundamentally affected by socioeconomic and socio-political factors which converge on the technical aspects of industrial R&D. Consequently, this study reveals that while the WARD programme has been conceived by State Government on the basis of the market failure argument, as it relates to resources for R&D, the factors which account for the lack of success are related to organisational and government failure.

The main outcome of this study is to advance the notion of the resource sector milieu for industrial innovation. This notion is outlined by the key concepts of comparative factor advantages, sophisticated buyers and contexted technologies. These concepts relate to the socio-economic and socio-political factors bearing on successful industrial innovation, study demonstrates that for those companies whose technologies are developed within the context of the resource sector milieu for industrial innovation, there is less likelihood that levels of regional appropriability. This will be compromised than those which are located outside this milieu.

The resource sector milieu for industrial innovation is offered as a coherent and integrated theoretical platform for State Government intervention aimed at economic and technological growth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Marinova, Dora and Harman, Elizabeth
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