The successful industrialization and catch up of countries in the east asian region gave rise to an important debate concerning the role played by technological learning and knowledge creation. This paper seeks to examine this issue for indonesia, a second-tier newly industrializing country. It focuses on the relative importance of learning from imported inputs vis-à-vis other factors influencing productivity in manufacturing. The concept of learning is operationalized drawing on the literature on technology spillovers on the one hand, and the literature on catch up à la abramovitz, on the other. Our results indicate that knowledge spillovers have become significant contributors to labor productivity growth after the liberalization of the indonesian economy.