Contrasting catching-up histories of the Korean and the Japanese heavy electrical industries in the 1970s-2000s

Seok, Kwanghoon (2020) Contrasting catching-up histories of the Korean and the Japanese heavy electrical industries in the 1970s-2000s. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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The thesis is motivated by contrasting catching-up performances of the Korean heavy electrical industry (HEI) across nuclear power and gas turbine, which have serious ramifications for energy policy as well as catching-up studies. When the opposite performance of Japanese counterparts across the two technologies is compared to the Korean case, the existing catching-up literature based on firm capabilities and sectoral approaches does not offer direct answers. Also, while most of government energy policies are focused on research and development (R&D) efforts, they pay little attention to a wide set of institutions, which might constrain and incentivise a specific technology catching-up.

The idiosyncratic catching-up experiences and potential mismatch between catching-up policies and the institutional factors of the Korean HEI urge comparative and institutional perspectives for a generalisable claim. Therefore, the thesis adopts a partial comparative case study between the Korean HEI and the ‘earlier’ latecomer, namely Japanese HEI, as a reference case with mostly secondary evidences based on a broad version of national system of innovation system (NSI) approach (Freeman 1987; Lundvall 1988; Lundvall et al., 2002). The adopted NSI framework assumes a potential dichotomy of cross-technology and cross-nation performance attributes to contrasting institutional set-ups. It focusses on two salient institutions of the electricity supply industry (ESI), including business and environmental regulations, and their impact on the catching-up performances across the two technologies.

It finds historically evolved ESI-HEI relationships based on the specific institutional set of ESI substantially influenced the dichotomy of cross-nation and cross-technology catching-up performances, regardless of R&D expenditures and relative technological capabilities of HEI firms. The result supplements the NSI literature by linking the variation of a set of institutions with catching-up performance variations. It also offers strategic implications to catching-up countries, such as the potential necessity for institutional reforms of the ESI in pursuing energy technology catching-up policies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD9000 Special industries and trades > HD9680 Mechanical industries Including electric utilities, electronic industries, and machinery
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 08:43
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2020 08:43

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