Calls for papers


International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development
International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development


Special Issue on: "Technological Upgrading and Innovation in Emerging Economies"

Guest Editors:
Dr. Iciar Dominguez Lacasa, University of Bremen, Germany
Dr. Björn Jindra, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Prof. Slavo Radosevic, University College London, United Kingdom

Technological upgrading of emerging economies is a multidimensional process based on a broader understanding of innovation, which goes well beyond R&D. It is a multi-level process and at its core has structural change in various dimensions: technological, industrial, organisational (Jindra et al., 2015; Radosevic and Yoruk, 2016). It is also an outcome of global forces, embodied in international trade and investment flows, as well as local strategies pursued by host country firms and governments (Ernst, 2008; Fu et al. 2011, Lall, 1992; Giroud et al., 2012; Radosevic and Yoruk, 2014).

Technological change and catch-up takes different forms (Wang et al. 2013). Some researchers have argued in support of an incremental path from the importing of technology to the creation of original R&D (Kim, 1997; Hobday, 1995). Others have proposed a leapfrog method, either by utilising a window for technological development or by creating a new path (e.g. Perez and Soete, 1988; Lee and Lim, 2001). New structural economics makes an important qualification to this. It indicates that the path to technology upgrading as based on ‘copying industries’ using latent comparative advantages is crucial in the transition from low to middle-income levels (Lin, 2012a,b; Lin and Rosenblatt, 2012). On the other hand, the neo-Schumpeterian approach of Lee (2013) shows that middle-income economies take ‘detours’ and establish their own technological paths when moving to high income levels.

The changing nature of new technologies coupled with the proliferation of global value chains leads to new patterns of technology upgrading (or lack of it) about which we have limited in-depth knowledge. Innovation that takes place in emerging economies may not be easily identifiable as it is not R&D based but it may be present through different forms of ‘hidden innovation’ like improvements in production capability, upgrading through engineering, new forms of software support or new business models. In short, there is need to understand better not only the scale but also scope of innovation activities in emerging economies.

This special issue would like to collect contributions that help to highlight the dynamics of technological upgrading and innovation in emerging economies. This research area requires advances in conceptual approaches as well as rigorous empirical evidence. Therefore, we appreciate theoretical contributions as well as empirical studies at the micro, mezzo and macro level of analysis. We intend to deepen the knowledge about BRICS economies and other less researched emerging economies to highlight the heterogeneity of technological upgrading.

The issue will carry revised and substantially extended versions of selected papers presented at the Second Conference of UCL Centre for Comparative Studies of Emerging Economies (CCSEE) (conference date: 26/27 June 2017; call available here) and a workshop on Innovation in Emerging Economies, Technical University Berlin, (submission of extended abstracts 30 March 2017, workshop date: 13/14 July 2017),but we also strongly encourage researchers unable to participate in these events to submit articles for this call.

Subject Coverage
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Indicators of the dynamics and structure of technological upgrading and innovation
  • Development and dynamics of national/sectoral systems of innovation
  • International trade and embodied knowledge
  • Innovation by foreign multinational enterprises (MNEs) in emerging economies
  • Technological linkages between foreign and domestic firms
  • Upgrading of emerging market firms in global value chains
  • Technology sourcing and innovation by emerging market multinationals (EMNEs)
  • Production and technological capabilities of emerging market firms
  • Frugal innovation as specific pattern of innovation and business model
  • New and fast growing technologies in emerging economies (incl. e-mobility, robotics, renewable energies, 3D printing)
  • The role of industrial and innovation policy for technology upgrading and innovation in emerging economies
  • Technology and innovation in emerging economies - The role for achieving the sustainable development goals
  • International standards as a tool for technological upgrading

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.

If you have any queries concerning this special issue, please email the Guest Editor Björn Jindra at

Important Dates

Manuscripts due by: 30 September, 2017

Notification to authors: 30 November, 2017

Final versions due by: 30 December, 2017





Ernst, D. (2008) ‘Asia’s “upgrading through innovation” 31 strategies and global innovation networks: an extension of Sanjaya Lall’s research agenda’, Transnational Corporations, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 31-58.


Fu, X., Pietrobelli, C., Soete, L. (2011) ‘The role of foreign technology and indigenous innovation in the emerging economies: technological change and catching-up’, World Development, Vol. 39 No. 7, pp. 1204-1212.


Giroud, A., Jindra, B., Marek, P. (2012) ‘Heterogeneous FDI in Transition Economies - A novel approach to assess the developmental impact of backward linkages’, World Development, Vol. 40 No. 11, pp. 2206-2222.


Hobday, M. (1995) ‘East Asian latecomer firms’ learning the technology of electronics’, World Development, Vol 23 No. 7, pp. 1171–1193.


Jindra, B., Dominguez Lacasa, I., Radosevic, S. (2015) ‘Dynamics of Technology Upgrading of the Central and East European Countries in a Comparative Perspective: Analysis Based on Patent Data’, Economics and Business Working Paper No.135, UCL SSEES Centre for Comparative Economics, February 2015.


Kim, L. (1997) Imitation to Innovation: The Dynamics of Korea's Technological Learning. Harvard Business School Press, Boston.


Lall, S. (1992) ‘Technological capabilities and industrialization’, Research Policy, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 165-186.


Lee, K. and Lim, C. (2001) ‘Technological regimes, catching-up and leapfrogging: Findings from Korean industries’, Research Policy, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 459–483.


Lee, K. (2013) Schumpeterian Analysis of Economic Catch-up, Knowledge, Path-creation and the Middle - Income Trap, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


Lin, J.Y. (2012a) ‘From flying geese to leading dragons: new opportunities and strategies for structural transformation in developing countries’, Global Policy, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 397–409.


Lin, J.Y. (2012b) New Structural Economics. A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy, The World Bank, Washington, DC.


Lin, J.Y., and Rosenblatt, D. (2012) ‘Shifting patterns of economic growth and rethinking development’, Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 171–194.


Perez, C. and Soete, L. (1988) ‘Catching up in technology: Entry barriers and windows of opportunity’, in Dosi, G., Freeman, C., Nelson, R. et al. (eds.) Technical Change and Economic Theory, Printer Publishers, London, pp. 458–479.


Radosevic, S. and Yoruk, E. (2014) Are there global shifts in world science base? Analysis of catching up and falling behind of world regions, Scientometrics, Vol. 101, pp. 1897–1924.


Radosevic, S. and Yoruk, E. (2016) ‘Why do we need a theory and metrics of technology upgrading?’, Asian Journal of Technology Innovation, DOI: 10.1080/19761597.2016.1207415.


Wang, F., Fu, X. and Chen, J. (2013) ‘Differential forms of technological change and catch-up: Evidence from China’, International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, Vol. 11, No. 2, DOI: 10.1142/S0219877014500138.