Using firm-level data from five developing countries—Brazil, Ecuador, South Africa, Tanzania, and Bangladesh—and three industries—food processing, textiles, and the garments and leather products—this article examines the importance of various sources of knowledge for explaining productivity and formally tests whether sector- or country-specific characteristics dominate these relationships. Knowledge sources driving productivity appear mainly sector specific. Also differences in the level of development affect the effectiveness of knowledge sources. In the food processing sector, firms with higher educated managers are more productive, and in least-developed countries, additionally those with technology licenses and imported machinery and equipment. In the capital-intensive textiles sector, productivity is higher in firms that conduct R&D. In the garments and leather products sector, higher education of the managers, licensing, and R&D raise productivity.
- TECHNICAL CHANGE