Enabling Factors in Firms Adoption of New Digital Technologies. An Empirical Inquiry on a Manufacturing Region
16 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 1, 2017
This paper provides an analysis on the diffusion of the last generation digital technologies (Industry 4.0) in the Veneto region, one of the main manufacturing territory in Italy. Our attention focuses on factors that enable firms to adopt these technologies, with attention to three main aspects: the human capital endowment, the international openness, and the financial structure. Empirical analysis is based on a sample of firms that operate in manufacturing, construction and business services. Our analysis shows a heterogeneous diffusion of Industry 4.0 technologies across different industries, allowing the identification of distinct technologies frontiers among sectors. The logit regression shows a positive relation between the adoption of digital technologies and the openness to international markets, as well as with a highly skilled and highly educated human capital. The digital users show better productivity indexes than other firms, but at the same time financial performances are less clear. Hence, the firms that adopt new digital technologies have a more balanced financial structure, but they do not show higher profitability ratios than non-users. This result depends on a longer run return on investment and in a different distributive policy inside the firm.
Keywords: Digital innovation, Industry 4.0, Enabling factors, Technological upgrading
JEL Classification: O33, L60, J24
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