PhD defense: Technological Progress in East Asia

PhD Defense

4 December 2014 22:13

(updated: 7 March 2016 22:14)

PhD defense: Technological Progress in East Asia

On Wednesday 17 December 2014 Lars Christian Bruno will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend his thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.

Time and place for the defense

12:15 in Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Centre, NHH

Prescribed topic for the trial lecture

"Does successful industrial policy depend on the degree of democracy?"
10:15 in Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Centre, NHH

"Essays on Technological Progress in East Asia" is the title of his thesis. It addresses two interrelated questions: (i) What was the importance of state support in promoting technological progress and increased value-added in individual sectors in selected East and Southeast Asian countries?; and (ii) How does technological progress affect economic growth in resource-abundant countries in East and Southeast Asia and elsewhere?

Regarding the first question, state support was vital for technological progress and industrial upgrading. For the natural resource sectors in Indonesia and Malaysia, the increase in productivity and improved linkages are vital components of successful resource-led growth. This is especially relevant for the Malaysian palm oil sector, in which both the increased productivity at the plantation level and the industrial policy conducted were crucial for the establishment of the food-processing industries. In addition, the South Korean shipbuilding sector was crucially dependent on state support, and it is unlikely to have been successful without this support.

Regarding the second question, the thesis focused explicitly on technology as a key component. The presence of natural resources is found to be positively correlated with GDP per capita, and so is technology. The contribution of natural resources was also lowered with a higher level of technology.

This finding suggests that improving the level of technology is a potential way to reducing the importance of natural resources in the economy. In Indonesia and Malaysia, this pattern is also present as natural resources were found to be relatively less important than for Finland and Sweden a century ago. As technological upgrading is faster, because of a larger potential catch-up effect to the US, for instance, natural resources would therefore play a smaller role. However, natural resources were still found to be important in absolute terms, meaning that the promotion of resource-based industries can still be valuable for present-day resource-abundant countries.


Supervising committee

Professor Stig Tenold, Dept. of Economics, NHH

Members of the evaluation committee

Professor Bjørn Basberg, leader. NHH Norwegian School of Economics
Professor Ragnar Torvik, NTNU
Associate professor Anne Boschini, IEI, Linköping University and Stockholm University

Lars Christian Bruno

Lars Christian Bruno was born in Netherlands (1980). He has been PhD-candidate at the Department of Economics, NHH. Bruno has a MSc - Master in Economics at NHH Norwegian School of Economics. Today Bruno works at BI Norwegian Business School in Stavanger.

Read more about Lars Christian Bruno

The trial lecture and thesis defense will be open to the public. Copies of the thesis will be available from: