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Technological learning, efficiency and environmental performance in developing countries: survey of the Ethiopian experience

Zawdie, G. and Lee, R. (2002) Technological learning, efficiency and environmental performance in developing countries: survey of the Ethiopian experience. International Journal of Environment, Technology and Management, 2 (1-2). pp. 225-243. ISSN 1466-2132

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Technological learning is crucial for mitigating the environmental impact of production through efficiency drives. Its occurrence is, however, constrained by weak management and policy regimes that inhibit competition, capacity building and investment flows. Analysis of technical efficiency trends in the Ethiopian manufacturing industry, conducted using efficiency models developed by the authors, shows scant evidence of technological learning, and confirms the hypothesis that industrialisation in developing countries correlates positively with environmental neglect. The results also suggest that there is significant scope for improving the technical efficiency of production and, hence, the environmental performance of industry through technological learning. The implications of the findings for industrialisation strategies and for the sustainability of the built environment are discussed. The fact that control policies aimed at mitigating the environmental impact of production are rarely implemented effectively in developing countries heightens the case for technological learning as a strategy for improving the environmental performance of industrial production in these countries.