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Revue de l'OFCE

2006/5 (no 97 bis)


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Article précédent Pages 63 - 85



The theme of industry life cycle (ILC) is today one of the central fields of research in industrial dynamics. ILC shows that industries behave like biological organisms, and proceed through different phases of development, from emergence to decline. Although this approach constitutes one of the most important recent advances in industrial dynamics, its major results are drawn from the historical evolution of industries that emerged during the first half of the 20th century in the US. In this perspective, we stress that these results relative to industries which are today mature industries are not necessarily generalisable to the evolution of industries that emerged (or radically changed) during the late 20th century, such as the biotechnology and the telecommunications industry that are often termed as knowledge intensive industries. We thus elaborate on the new theme of knowledge intensive industry life cycle.
JEL Classification: L20, L65, L96.


  • knowledge intensive sectors
  • industry life cycles
  • telecommunications
  • biotechnology

Plan de l'article

  1. 1 - Introduction
  2. 2 - The industry life cycle and the changing knowledge environment
    1. 2.1 - The survival of incumbent firms
    2. 2.2 - The emergence of new firms
    3. 2.3 - The development of innovation networks
  3. 3 - Historical trends
    1. 3.1 - The long term trend in the development of the capitalist system
    2. 3.2 - A secular trend towards growing knowledge intensity in capitalist economies
    3. 3.3 - The emergence of a radically new type of knowledge, corresponding to a new paradigm
  4. 4 - Knowledge and industry life cycle in the visible and vanishing hands
    1. 4.1 - ILC and the visible hand: vertical integration and the coordination of distinct knowledge bases
    2. 4.2 - ILC in the transition phase: vertical desintegration and the progressive overlap of knowledge bases
    3. 4.3 - ILC in the vanishing hand: knowledge base within INs
  5. 5 - The case of telecommunications and biotechnology
    1. 5.1 - Knowledge dynamics
      1. 5.1.1 - Biotechnologies
      2. 5.1.2 - Telecommunications
      3. 5.1.3 - Knowledge discontinuities and search strategies
    2. 5.2 - The co-existence of LDFs, NTFs within INs
      1. 5.2.1 - Biotechnologies
      2. 5.2.2 - Telecommunications
      3. 5.2.3 - Summing up
  6. 6 - Summary and conclusions

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