Competitive dynamics and economic learning: an extended resource-based view

John A. Mathews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper a conceptual framework for the analysis of economic learning is developed. Economic learning, by analogy with organizational learning, results in the development of economic competences, or capabilities, shared between firms, which rest on a foundation of economic resources, from which value is generated, and economic routines, through which resources are utilized. It is the mobility of resources, and their exchange and production dynamics, along evolutionary pathways, which underpins the plausibility of a notion of economic learning. The paper elaborates this framework as a 'resource-based view' (RBV) of the economy as a whole, as an extension of the RBV of the firm. Such a framework captures the dynamics of exchange and circulation of technologies, know-how and intangible assets, as well as of tangible assets and capital goods; it is concerned with investment behavior by entrepreneurs rather than with the behavior of producers and consumers in goods and services markets. Within this resource economy framework, it is possible to generate an account of the resource dynamics that underpin production of goods and services-including resource propagation, diffusion, imitation, replication and recombination. These processes encompass evolutionary pressures, experienced through resource variation, selection and retention. Entrepreneurial initiatives take the form of resource recombinations, while resource innovation captures the creation of new economic resources, such as technological standards. Such a perspective brings into focus the resource specialization and configurations that drive real economies, within firms and between firms, that translates into enhanced or diminished performance of the economy as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-145
Number of pages31
JournalIndustrial and Corporate Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


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