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Ongoing Projects

Clusters of Information Technology and Communication (ICT), performance of local companies and employment generation in Latin America

CAATEC, together with researchers from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina (www.unc.edu.ar), and researchers from the University ORT Uruguay (www.ort.edu.uy), is conducting a study entitled "Clusters of Information Technology and Communication (ICT), performance of local companies and employment generation in Latin America." This study is being executed in three countries: Argentina, Costa Rica and Uruguay.

 

General Objective:

To generate new knowledge on how the interactions between domestic ICT firms and multinational ICT and IT-enabled corporations (MNCs) in Latin America contribute to the creation of businesses and employment in domestic ICT firms of these countries, and to use this knowledge to present evidence-based policy recommendations for the promotion of the growth of existing domestic ICT firms, the creation of new domestic ICT firms, and the generation of new high-quality employment in those firms.

 

Specific objectives:

  1. Determine the degree to which the presence and activities of ICT and IT-enabled MNCs help or hinder the survival and growth of existing domestic (locally owned) ICT firms, and what types of existing domestic ICT firms are benefitted or disadvantaged by the activities of these MNCs.
  2. Determine the degree to which the presence and activities of ICT and IT-enabled MNCs help or hinder the formation of new domestic ICT firms (start-ups), and what types of new domestic ICT firms are benefitted or disadvantaged by the activities of these MNCs.
  3. Determine the degree to which the creation, survival, and growth of domestic ICT firms facilitates the creation of more and better jobs for their employees, and whether there are gender biases in the creation of such employment.

 Timeframe:

March 2013-March 2015

Financing

The study is being sponsored by the International Center for Development Research (www.idrc.ca), a Canadian public institution whose mandate is to support developing countries by funding applied research in order to find practical solutions to social, economic and environmental problems they face.

 

Progress of the project on the topic of gender

We are investigating whether the presence of multinational corporations (MNCs) in Argentina, Costa Rica, and Uruguay contributes to the creation of more and higher-paying jobs among existing domestic Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in these countries, and favors the creation of new domestic ICT companies. As an important part of this project, we are working to determine if there are gender biases in the creation of new employment and levels of wages received by workers in these domestic companies, or gender biases among the entrepreneurs that create new businesses in the national ICT sectors.

We are therefore carefully collecting information related to the gender of entrepreneurs and employees in these national ICT sectors. This data includes the results of interviews with individuals from the public, private, and academic sectors selected for their knowledge of the ICT sectors in each country. The interview guide that we use requires us to inquire about the presence and importance of women in the national ICT sector, both as employees of ICT companies and as founders and owners of such companies, and possible barriers to their successful participation in the sector in both roles.

The study is also carrying out surveys in each country to collect data from domestic ICT companies and ICT or ICT-enabled multinational corporations (MNCs) about relevant aspects of these companies and the ways in which they interact with each other. The data collected includes information on the gender of workers in these companies, their positions as employees, and the gender and educational levels of the founders of domestic ICT companies.

In the case of Costa Rica, we have been able to obtain secondary data from the social security system about tens of thousands employees from the great majority of all domestic and multinational ICT firms operating in the country between 2001 and 2012, including employee gender, age, and salaries, and the companies for which these individuals worked during this period. This unique employer-employee data set provides us with an unusually strong basis for the comparative analysis of the employment histories, labor mobility, and salaries of male and female employees in the Costa Rican ICT sector.

Finally, we will make use of several short case studies to provide more in-depth understanding of interesting findings produced by the activities discussed previously. We have already decided to focus one or more of these studies on firms created by female entrepreneurs, to illuminate the barriers they have faced and the advantages that they have encountered in the formation of their businesses, compared to those encountered by male entrepreneurs in the national ICT sector.

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