Challenges of Contemporary Economics


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Volume 13 (2019) Volume 12 (2018) Volume 11 (2017) Volume 10 (2016) Volume 9 (2015) Volume 8 (2014) Volume 7 (2013) Volume 6 (2012) Volume 5 (2011) Volume 4 (2010) Volume 3 (2009) Volume 2 (2008) Volume 1 (2007)

Volume 10 Issue 3 (2016)

Special issue

Innovation and global competition

Editorial letter original article

pp. 191-191 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:

Carlos Devece


Editorial letter

Connectivity in the Technology Transfer Process among Local ASEAN Firms original article

pp. 193-204 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.209

Masatsugu Tsuji, Hiroki Idota, Yasushi Ueki, Hidenori Shigeno, Teruyuki Bunno


This study focuses on the role of human factors in the innovation processes of firms in four member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), i.e., Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Firms are required first to obtain new information related to innovation and then to integrate it with their indigenous resources. The innovation process thus consists of the absorptive process, through which outside information is employed to enhance innovation capability, and the transforming process, through which innovation capability creates innovation. This study identifies essential factors that promote these capabilities. In the absorptive process, two types of personnel are examined, i.e., employees who have experience working with multinational companies (MNCs) and those indigenous to the firm. As for the transforming capability, organizational learning processes, including quality control (QC) and cross-functional teams, are examined. Mail surveys were conducted from 2013 to 2014, and the total number of samples was 665. Based on the data, structural equation modeling (SEM) is employed. The analysis demonstrates that MNCs have the largest impact as external linkages. The most important mediators for locals to connect with MNCs are top management and factory managers who have experience working with MNCs, whereas indigenous employees, such as local engineers, managers, and line leaders, are identified for connectivity with locals. The direct and indirect effects of external linkages on innovation are also estimated. In the transforming process, cross-functional teams have a larger impact on innovation than QC.

Keywords: absorptive capability, transforming process, organizational learning, cross-functional team, indigeneity

An empirical approach to marketing innovation in small and medium retailers: an application to the Spanish sector original article

pp. 205-216 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.210

Natalia Medrano, Cristina Olarte-Pascual


Although numerous studies explore innovation, most of them focus on technological innovations. It is currently difficult to focus exclusively on products and processes when discussing innovation because new ideas can transform any part of an organization’s value chain. Indeed, marketing innovation is essential for small and medium firms and its study is extremely important given the current lack of empirical evidence. Furthermore, the retail sector in Spain plays a significant role in the country’s economy due to its contribution to gross domestic product and employment and to its role in the growth of cities and regions. In this context, the present study analyzes the determinants of marketing innovation practices of small and medium retailers and the relationships among the four types of innovation (product, process, organizational and marketing) to improve our understanding of marketing innovations in the retail sector. This study uses secondary data on innovation activity for Spanish companies in the years 2010-2012. Logistic regression models are estimated, and the results show that the introduction of new marketing methods has a positive impact on the propensity to engage in all other types of innovation (product, process and organizational). Furthermore, all of these methods positively impact the propensity to introduce marketing innovations. This study concludes with insights that can help managers to direct innovation processes in their companies and assist public administrators in the promotion of marketing innovations among small and medium retailers.

Keywords: marketing innovation, non-technological innovations, retail, SME

Types of agglomeration economies: effects on business innovation original article

pp. 217-232 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.211

Enrique Claver-Cortés, Bartolome Marco-Lajara, Encarnacion Manresa-Marhuenda


A review of the literature does not provide conclusive results about the effects caused by firm agglomeration on innovation. In order to shed light on this issue, this paper draws a distinction among three kinds of agglomeration economies and empirically tests their respective impact on business innovation. The advantage that external knowledge generated through concentration can bring to each company depends on its absorptive capacity. Hence, it is posited that this dynamic capability acts as a mediator in the relationship between agglomeration and innovation. Using data from a survey conducted in 2013 by the Technological Innovation Panel (PITEC), an analysis of these ideas was performed using a sample of 2,906 high and medium-high technology companies. The results obtained indicate that several types of agglomeration economies exist and that the net effect each one of them has on innovation is different. More specifically, only urbanization economies favor innovation. Additionally, all of our findings reveal that firms increase their greater absorptive capacity in the context of agglomeration.

Keywords: Innovation, Agglomeration, Externalities, Absorptive Capacity

Competitiveness and Resilience of the productive districts in Sicily. The behavior of the Sicilian production areas during the economic crisis original article

pp. 233-248 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.212

Michele Sabatino


“Resilience” refers to the ability of companies to adapt their strategies in response to economic circumstances that change from time to time. This definition seems appropriate to explain the behavior of the Sicilian productive districts in light of the recent economic crisis. These meta-producing districts of Sicily merit further study, particularly in terms of the concept of resilience and its accompanying economic dynamics. The Sicilian Region has recognized these productive districts, which represent an attempt to use industrial policy to promote various types of mergers among companies. This regional strategy could have been a useful tool to induce the production system to direct its decisions toward forms of integration and inter-company collaboration that would also strengthen the previously begun processes of local development. The crisis reduced any regional policy aspirations and above all decimated the numerous small enterprises that might have represented the backbone of the proto-districts. After an initial methodological and historical reconstruction, the present study focuses on the Sicilian production areas – with particular reference to the industrial area – from the first years of their establishment and regional recognition to those latter years marked by the economic crisis. Thus, we evaluate the degree of resilience of the different districts and their competitive capacities. Arguing about competitiveness and resilience means, on one hand, to understand what the factors are that combine to reduce the vulnerability of a territory and a production system and on the other hand, to identify strategies to increase financing for the same factors that are crucial to a region’s economic growth.

Keywords: resilience, productive district, regional strategy, economic crisis

Comparing dividend puzzle solutions by Polish, Canadian, Norwegian and American executives original article

pp. 249-258 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.213

Agata Sierpińska-Sawicz


This study compares firms’ dividend policy antecedents in four countries. The author surveys managers of 230 companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange that paid dividends over the 2001-12 period and compares the findings to survey reports from the USA, Canada, and Norway. The main antecedents of dividend policy in these countries are the level of current earnings, their stability over time, the level of expected earnings and the pattern of past dividends. The last factor is of little importance for Polish managers, as the history of dividend payouts in Polish-listed companies is brief. The establishment of factors that shape the dividend policy in public companies has crucial importance in global financial markets. Investors make cash transfers to markets that ensure a high return on invested capital. Orders from foreign investors generate almost 50% of the turnover on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Therefore, in their decisions on the division of earnings, Polish companies should be guided by similar considerations as those displayed by companies in developed economies that seek to attract foreign investors. The study expands on the existing survey research on dividends and provides new evidence from managers of companies in Poland.

Keywords: dividend, survey, dividend policy, dividend antecedents, dividend determinants

Two-Stage Data Envelopment Analysis of Spanish Regions: Efficiency Determinants and Stability Analysis original article

pp. 259-274 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.214

José Solana-Ibáñez, Manuel Caravaca-Garratón, Lorena Para-González


The purpose of this paper is to examine the hypothesis that the efficiency of Spanish tourism regions for the period 2005-2013 is determined by a group of contextual variables. In contrast with monitoring reports based on descriptive methods, this paper uses the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) bootstrap semiparametric procedure to investigate efficiency determinants. An innovative analysis addresses the problem of the stability of efficiency estimates of random changes in the isolated exogenous variables. The statistical significance of the potential attractors can offer a tool for strategic decisions, and no previous work compares the stability analysis results to the estimates derived from the two-stage algorithm. The model appropriately fits the data, with all the coefficients being of the correct sign and statistically significant. Hence, the fact that the exogenous variables influence the hypothesis is confirmed by the results, and the stability analysis helps to verify the significance of each variable. We also extend the traditional DEA analysis by exploring efficiency and productivity changes using the slacks-based measure (SBM) model and the bootstrapped Malmquist index approach to obtain total productivity growth estimates.

Keywords: data envelopment analysis (DEA); destination performance; efficiency determinants; stability analysis; two-stage double bootstrap DEA

Franchise fairs: A relevant signal in franchise choice in social activity original article

pp. 275-282 | First published in 30 September 2016 | DOI:10.5709/ce.1897-9254.215

Leonardo Martin Mastrangelo, Esther Calderon-Monge, Pilar Huerta-Zavala


Potential franchisees encounter difficulties in gaining knowledge about a franchise before embarking on their first start-up venture. For this reason, it is necessary to research which information signals help potential franchisees choose the franchise chains with which they wish to enter into business. Working within the framework of signaling theory, this study’s aim is to analyze the relationship between franchise choice and brand, price and participation in franchise fairs. The dynamic signaling model deployed to achieve the study´s aim draws on panel data methodology. This methodology allows us to analyze franchise chains over the period in which their parent franchises were using signaling to reveal information about their quality to potential franchisees. The results show that franchise fairs and up-front entry fees influence franchisee´s decisions. Therefore, it is concluded that potential franchisees prefer to garner information directly from franchise fairs, as opposed to heeding the other signals under study, and that when macroeconomic variables are exerting a strong influence on potential franchisees, up-front entry fees also constitute a signal that they consider. Finally, the managerial implications of the study are that franchise chains seeking franchisees should participate in franchise fairs to ensure that they are among the chosen franchises. Additionally, a franchisor should appropriately manage up-front entry fees as a signal, especially during periods of economic turmoil and recession.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; signals; price; franchising; GMM; franchise fairs