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High Road Development in a Low Tech Industry: Policymakers, Producer Networks, and the Co-Production of Innovation in the Mexican Ceramics Sector

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/21074

High Road Development in a Low Tech Industry: Policymakers, Producer Networks, and the Co-Production of Innovation in the Mexican Ceramics Sector

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Title: High Road Development in a Low Tech Industry: Policymakers, Producer Networks, and the Co-Production of Innovation in the Mexican Ceramics Sector
Author: Samford, Steven
Advisor(s): Schrank, Andrew
Stanley, William
Committee Member(s): Schrank, Andrew
Stanley, William
Peceny, Mark
Hochstetler, Kathryn
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Political Science
Subject(s): development, labor regulation, social networks, innovation, Mexico, ceramics
LC Subject(s): Ceramic industries -- Social aspects -- Mexico
Potters -- Mexico -- Social conditions
Diffusion of innovations -- Government policy -- Mexico
Industrial hygiene -- Government policy -- Mexico
Degree Level: Doctoral
Abstract: When faced with the integration of international markets, some small producers in the developing world respond with “low road” strategies that undermine wages and working conditions while others take the “high road” to become globally competitive. Existing explanations – macroeconomic policy, human capital development, geography – are unable to account for this variation both across and within sectors. I address this variation by examining workshop-level responses to a government effort to develop and disseminate a lead-free glaze in the Mexican ceramics sector. Many producers have failed to adopt the glaze despite the fact that it promises to improve both their health and their export prospects. I draw on a variety of data to understand which workshops adopt the improved glaze technology: social network and statistical analysis of an original survey; interviews with state and federal officials and workshops in several villages; observation of training programs and meetings of producer groups. I find that upgrading is most likely where state agents work through existing networks of producers, using these social ties as conduits for the flow of information about technology and markets. However, networks of producers at the cluster level are highly uneven, which complicates the task of disseminating information through clusters. Moreover, the weakness of the Mexican state relative to civil society – especially in remote rural areas and highly indigenous areas – has made the formation of public-private ties much more difficult for the state to accomplish.
Graduation Date: July 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/21074
Item Available: 2014-07-30

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