Limits to Modularity: A Review of the Literature and Evidence from Chip Design
No 71, Economics Study Area Working Papers from East-West Center, Economics Study Area
This working paper has been prepared as part of the East-West Center's research project on Globalization of Knowledge Work: Why is Chip Design Moving to Asia. In this paper, Dieter assesses what we know about the limits to modularity and their impact on firm organization and industry structure. He focuses on evidence form chip design, drawing on interview on 2002 and 2003 with a sample of 60 companies and 15 research institutions that are involved in chip design in the US, Taiwan, Korea, China and Malaysia. It is summarized "stylized" propositions of the modularity literature that are well-established, as well as predictions that are controversial. In addition, important limits to modularity and relevant management responses were reviewed.
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