Industrial evolution and national institutional advantage: a comparative analysis of the photovoltaic industry in Germany, China and South Korea

Lee, Kyoung Hoon (2012) Industrial evolution and national institutional advantage: a comparative analysis of the photovoltaic industry in Germany, China and South Korea. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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A number of alternative economic and economic geography theories have been developed to account for the divergence of national political economy and industrial dynamics. These include the varieties of capitalism, developmental state, neo-Schumpeterian innovation, and Gerschenkronian catching-up theories. In this thesis I shall argue that in these theories a core and often shared concept of "institutional advantage" plays a central role in explaining different economic performances across nations.

This concept is elaborated as a means of examining the causal relationships between institutional advantages and four necessary functions (market creation, capital mobilisation, process innovation and cost reduction) in the development of the photovoltaic (PV) industry of Germany, China, and South Korea. The development of these industries is examined in detail on the basis of empirical evidence in the form of archival and interview based data.

Two main conclusions are reached. Firstly, domestic market creation is not a generally necessary condition for the development of a local PV industry at a national level. China's PV industry grew fast without a sufficient domestic market unlike in Germany. However, domestic market creation is important, because the domestic PV industry, national support policy and the domestic market are interrelated. Secondly, capital mobilisation is a core function in establishing the PV industry. In the 2000s, Korea failed to establish its local PV industry despite an institutional advantage in creating domestic markets, mainly due to the fact that it had an institutional disadvantage in mobilising capital. However, Germany and China succeeded in mobilising capital in their PV sectors, governments playing a decisive role in facilitating the raising of funds in both cases.

This research contributes to a better understanding of the nature of industrial dynamics in the context of institutional configurations of a national political economy, broadening the usage of "institutional advantage" by applying this concept to comparative analysis on the national PV trajectories. Moreover, from the perspective of the social system, four necessary functions for the PV industry have been proposed and investigated.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD2321 Industry
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK1001 Production of electric energy or power
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 07:17
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2015 14:58

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