Browsing by Subject "competitiveness"

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  • Soininvaara, Ilppo (2020)
    In this article, I analyze the politics of urbanization and competitiveness-led state spatial transformations through political narratives. By analyzing empirical material, I search for ways of reasoning and rationalities that disclose the dynamics of the depoliticization and politicization of different spatial transformations of urbanization. Based on extensive interviews, I argue that a general understanding of urbanization as an external, global inevitability and as a force prevails among political elites. This key rationality and other sedimented knowledge duly opens up new political debates on the proper political management of urbanization and national adaptation. The order of reasoning is clear: the political elites argue that the perceived inevitability, common good and state of crisis necessitate national spatial transformations in order to secure the competitiveness of the state. As a result, new spatial hierarchies are forming as an adaptive strategy.
  • Halko, Marja-Liisa; Sääksvuori, Lauri (HECER - Helsinki Center of Economic Research, 2015)
    HECER Discussion Paper No. 396
  • Hurmekoski, Elias; Jonsson, Ragnar; Korhonen, Jaana; Jänis, Janne; Mäkinen, Marko; Leskinen, Pekka; Hetemäki, Lauri (2018)
    This study identifies new wood-based products with considerable potential and attractive markets, including textiles, liquid biofuels, platform chemicals, plastics, and packaging. We apply a mixed-methods review to examine how the position of the forest industry in a given value chain determines the respective production value. An assessment is provided as to the degree to which these emerging wood-based products could compensate for the foreseen decline of graphic paper markets in four major forest industry countries: USA, Canada, Sweden, and Finland. A 1%-2% market share in selected global markets implies a potential increase in revenues of 18-75 billion euros per annum in the four selected countries by 2030. This corresponds to 10%-43% of the production value of forest industries in 2016 and compares with a projected decline of graphic paper industry revenue of 5.5 billion euros by 2030. The respective impacts on wood use are manifold, as many of the new products utilize by-products as feedstock. The increase in primary wood use, which is almost entirely attributed to construction and to some extent textiles markets, would be in the range of 15-133 million m(3), corresponding to 2%-21% of the current industrial roundwood use in the selected countries.
  • Ahtokari-Lummi, Frida (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The aim of this thesis is to explore how the Finnish state has adopted knowledge branding as a way to improve Finland’s competitiveness during the 21st century, and simultaneously examine what contesting imaginaries of competitiveness are underlying its work due to challenges posed by climate change. In policy spheres, knowledge branding refers to the act of knowledge being packaged into saleable and user-friendly “toolkits”, i.e. knowledge brands, by renowned consultants, policy experts and academics. These knowledge brands are manifested through international ranking institutions, which are assessing countries according to various performance areas. This has only enhanced the global competition between nations. Today, the long predominance of market-liberal imaginaries around globalization, competitiveness and the knowledge-based economy has been seriously contested due to the climate crisis demanding a greener economy. These green ideas have translated into new knowledge brands such as ’sustainability’, ’carbon neutrality’ and ‘circular economy’. However, despite the apparent clash of two contradictory sets of beliefs, capitalist growth aims have continued to thrive, showing flexible adaptation in the form of hybridization. As a result we see phenomena such as climate capitalism, carbon compensation and carbon trading. Since I find that the CPE field lacks a collective notion describing different degrees of such hybridization of ideas, I introduce the concept of ‘hybrid imaginary’ to denote the dynamic alignment of traditional capitalist, consumerist ideas with the more altruistic worldview of global responsibility and environmental sustainability. Theoretically, I support myself on the cultural political economy (CPE) approach, which regards imaginaries as necessary for us to be able to structure and make sense of the complexity of the world. More recently, CPE has explored the adoption of knowledge brands in public policy spheres. Considering the fact that Finland, branding itself as “A land of solutions”, has received much positive attention in recent years due to its success in international rankings, and today also aspires to be the world’s first fossil-fuel free country by 2035, I find my home country to be an interesting case to examine in terms of increased use of knowledge branding in the state sector. Methodologically, I approach this topic by conducting a combined qualitative content and discourse analysis on the fairly new state operator Business Finland and its predecessor Finpro (1999-2017). The operator promotes Finnish competitiveness in the fields of internationalization of enterprises, investments and the travel industry by the help of its huge network of consultants, thus making it fit for knowledge branding. Hence, my research question is as follows: “How has Business Finland adopted knowledge branding as a way to improve Finland's competitiveness during the 21st century and what contesting imaginaries of competitiveness are underlying its work?”. The analysis consists of three dimensions: 1) organizational reforms during the 21st century enabling knowledge branding; 2) nation branding as an example of a knowledge brand applied by the travel promotion unit Visit Finland; and 3) Business Finland’s use of hybrid imaginaries in response to the climate crisis. The results of the analysis show that Business Finland has become increasingly dynamic in response to global pressure, while the operator’s current focus on climate innovations shows how ‘responsibility’ and ‘sustainability’ are treated as competitive factors. Thus, my main conclusive argument is that when environmental values are utilised for national competitiveness purposes, their morally good nature may become distorted. This observation resonates with the fact that sustainability and responsibility have become performances measured through global indexes. So, paradoxically, the good intentions of government strategies for mitigating climate change are in danger of being held back due to the excessive focus on individual performance, instead of finding ways to join forces for more collaborative transnational efforts. Ultimately, hybrid imaginaries in combination with an increased commercialization of knowledge raises concerns for the long-term effects on our human ability to imagine alternative futures in writing the narrative of climate change.
  • Toppinen, Anne Maarit Kristiina; Sauru, Miska Eemil; Pätäri, Satu; Lähtinen, Katja; Tuppura, Anni (2019)
    In transitioning to a renewable material-based bio economy, growing public and industry interest is apparent for using wooden multistory construction (WMC) as a sustainable urban housing solution in Europe, but its business implications are not well understood. In our study, we evaluate, which internal and external factors of competitiveness are shaping the future of WMC, especially in the context of Finland and Sweden. Based on a multi-level perspective of socio-technical transitions, we conducted a three-stage dissensus-based Delphi study. The identified internal and external factors affecting the future competitiveness of the WMC business emphasize the importance of skilled architects and builders and the role of standardized building systems. Based on our results, the key aspects influencing the future competitiveness of WMC in the region are related to the development of technical infrastructure and project-based business networks, while additional changes in regulatory framework are perceived as less important. We conclude that towards 2030, the strong cognitive rules founded in the concrete-based building culture in these countries is likely to inhibit the dynamics of the socio-technical regime level. A change is also needed in the WMC business culture towards more open cross-sectoral collaboration and new business networks between different-sized players.
  • Ala-Varvi, Tuomas (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    To achieve the appointed goals set in the national climate and energy strategy it is important to launch biomass into markets more effectively. In addition to biomass from clearing sites energy wood needs to be procured from young stands. First thinnings have been neglected to great extent in Finland mainly because of low profitability. The targets have been achieved only once during last decade. Expanding energy wood procurement to young stands increases the need for resources. Therefore more effective operating machines should be developed. The challenge is in launching these prototypes into testing and commercial markets. Fixteri Ltd. has developed a whole-tree bundler in order to enhance harvesting of small-diameter energy wood from young stands. This method is meant to reduce transportation costs through load compaction. The aim of this research was to study the productivity of cutting and bundling of whole-trees using Fixteri FX15a bundling unit and to clarify the competitiveness of the whole production chain compared to rival methods. The harvesting was studied trough video analyze in order to detect factors limiting the productivity. 35 whole-tree bundles were produced in young Scots pine stand. An average weight and volume of the bundle were 502.5 kg and 463 dm³. It took 3.38 min to produce one bundle. FX15a bundling unit was fitted to Logman 811FC base machine. Accumulating Nisula 280E+ felling head was used. An average performance per effective working hour of 9.74 m3 was recorded when average volume of removal was 37.3 dm3. The operator used multi-tree cutting effectively in average 3.1 whole-trees per work load. The share of multi-tree cutting was 96 percent. The performance of prototype FX15 was significantly lower than the performance of FX15a. The performance of 5.07 and 5.86 m³/h0 were recorded when average volumes of removed trees were 28.4 and 41.1 dm³. It was observed that the productivity of FX15a was higher compared to the harvesting of undelimbed trees when average volume of removed trees was less than 70 dm3. Harvesting and off-road transportation of whole tree bundles was more profitable when average volume of removal was under 95 dm3. Total costs of wood chip supply chain were lower compared to harvesting of undelimbed trees when average volume of removal was less than 85 dm3. Total costs of wood chip supply chain were higher compared to harvesting of undelimbed trees regardless of average volume of removed trees when FX15 bundling unit was used. When includung the possible energy subsidies (max 30 %) for whole-tree bundling and pre-clearance-related additional costs for harvesting of undelimbed trees into account the potential number of harvesting sites increases significantly. Drying the bundles plays an important role since high moisture content in the bundles after road side storing may endanger the competitiveness of the whole supply chain when bundles are burned to produce energy. Although bundling whole-trees seems to be a competitive alternative in harvesting small-diameter energy wood there are still several questions unanswered. The method should be studied in greater depth by varying harvesting conditions and machine operators. Also the potential of on-road transport and bundle features needs further study.
  • Myllyvirta, Lauri (2010)
    Steep and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required from industrialized countries. An important policy concern is that these emission reductions could lead to increases in emissions elsewhere. This leakage effect can be avoided by suitable choice of policies. I study the greenhouse gas abatement policy of a large coalition of countries that faces competition from countries with laxer emission policies, comparing the changes in emissions from the rest of the world and in competitiveness of dirty industries caused by different policy options. My analysis is based on a two-region, two-good model of endogenous growth with directed technical change. I compare two approaches to allocation of emissions associated with the supply of internationally traded goods and services: production-based and consumption-based accounting. When technical change and complementary policies are omitted, emission constraints based on either approach cause emissions in the rest of the world to increase, although through different mechanisms. However, an emission constraint creates incentives for energy-saving innovation and countries' emission policies can include various complementary measures in addition to the emission constraint. These factors can cause also the rest of the world to reduce emissions. Models that omit these factors yield too low recommendations on emission reduction targets. In order to maximize global emission reductions achieved with unilateral policy, production-based emission constraints should be applied on sectors where there are good possibilities to substitute other inputs for fossil energy, and there are decreasing returns to scale in carbon intensive activities. Consumption-based emission constraints achieve larger global emission reductions in sectors in which fossil energy and other inputs are strongly complementary and returns to scale on the regional level are not strongly decreasing. Complementary policies, such as subsidies to energy efficiency investments, subsidies to R&D of energy-saving technologies, transfer of technology to developing countries and relaxing the protection of intellectual property rights, can reduce or reverse carbon leakage. Each of these policies only reduces global emissions under specific conditions. Choosing suitable policies and differentiating between economic sectors is of great importance. If border measures are applied on imported carbon-intensive goods, it is important to account for the relative carbon intensity of individual producers. A regular border tax levied per tonne
  • Hyytia, Annika (WoodEMA i.a. International Association for Economics and Management in Wood Processing and Furniture Manufacturing, 2019)
    Resources are important for competitiveness in business. Business models and innovation can provide new opportunities. The value chain and innovations in the sustainable development of the forest sector provide opportunities for competitiveness and business. Quality is part of competitiveness. It can provide a sustainable image to customers. This is a qualitative research based on research articles and literature including academic sources, for example Proquest, Academic Search Complete (EBSCO), Agris, CAB Abstracts, SCOPUS (Elsevier), Web of Science (IS I) and Google Scholar and Internet sites.
  • de Visser, Cornelis; Schreuder, Remco; Stoddard, Fred (2014)
    The European Innovation Partnership Agri has set up a consultation process involving 20 experts from 11 EU countries to discuss the potential of a substantial increase in protein crop production in the EU. The dependency of Europe on soya bean meal imports and the associated drivers are described and underline the need for change. The EIP Agri process resulted in the assessment of the present-day yield gap of protein crops using an approach based on the market values of the protein, starch and plant oil components. Oil-based protein crops seemed to be overall better positioned than starch based protein crops because the price of oil levels is higher than that of starch. Alfalfa was identified as being interesting for regions where drying cost are low. The process also resulted in the identification of opportunities and constraints to be encountered by the innovation process, combining the knowledge and physical infrastructure, market structure, co-operation and interaction and the influence of culturally determined values and beliefs. Therefore, the recommendation is to develop a comprehensive approach to meet the challenge of substantially increasing the EU’s protein crop production.
  • Erkkila, Tero; Piironen, Ossi (2020)
    For over a decade, global university rankings have played a growing role in the status competition in higher education. More recently, we have seen a proliferation in rankings of innovation and urbanization. In this article, we argue that while these new measurements bring with them some conceptual adjustments, they draw heavily on existing rankings and embrace the embedded competitive logic. Local rankings of innovation objectify higher education as an element of global competitiveness. Furthermore, we argue that this logical shift is made with the help university rankings that now come to bridge global competition and local innovation; the existing global university rankings are directly used in the composite indicators of local innovation or their methodology is copied. Consequently, political imaginaries of global competition are now projected to regional and city level.
  • Kovanen, Jukka (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    Unit labor costs have been a widely discussed topic in Finland as well as all around the world. Technically unit labor costs are calculated by a simple ratio of labor costs and output. There is a large divergency of opinion about how consistent measurement unit labor costs are for competitiveness of an economy or an industry, for example. There is no unambiguous answer how to measure cost competitiveness of a country or an industry and one should keep in mind what the unit labor costs do not measure. Also, it is two different cases to observe nominal or real unit labor costs. In the former denominator is in units of measurements, like meters or units, and in the latter is deflated by current prices. Also there is a difference in observation of development within the firms versus on the aggregate level. In the thesis the unit labor costs of Finnish industrial production are calculated from the firm specific micro data. Also, the part of the structural change and development within firms by decompositions is estimated based on microdata. Furthermore, markup of the firms is estimated by comparing price development to marginal costs of the firms, to this end there are estimated an industry specific production function, by using some micro econometric methods like fixed effects – regression. According to the results obtained the unit labor costs have increased by about two per cents in annual growth rates between 2007 and 2016. There has been lot of fluctuation in the development, especially in the beginning of the observation period. The unit labor costs increased a lot because of drop of the production caused by recession. During the following two years they decreased a little bit. After that the development has been steadier. The decomposition into the structural and within firms effect tells that the major part of the fluctuation were driven by the changes within the firms, when the structural effect was the driver of the moderate but steady increase and being actually more remarkable explainer of the annual growth rates. The markup within industrial firms decreased a little bit during the observation period. Although, should be pointed out that there is some uncertainty in production function estimates and firm specific prices and consequently markup estimates are suggestive.