Who Adopts Industry 4.0 Technology?
While there are high expectations for the potential of Industry 4.0, we know little about how widely firms use related technologies. This study aims to describe the current status of Industry 4.0 technology adoption and identify the determinants. Compared to most existing studies that focus on specific industries or limited sets of firms, we present more comprehensive adoption patterns across different industries and firms by examining a rich dataset of 9,129 firms from the 2015-2018 Survey of Business Activities conducted by Statistics Korea. Using the Technology-Organization-Environment framework, we also analyze the determinants of the firm's technology adoption. Our main results are 1) ICT service, finance, and ICT manufacturing are early adopters of Industry 4.0 technologies; 2) while cloud and big data show relatively high adoption rates (4.52% and 4.36%), AI is used by only a small share of firms (2.74%); 3) firms with greater technological readiness and greater size are more likely to adopt Industry 4.0; and 4) environmental factors, such as spillovers, appear to have significant impacts on firms’ technology adoption. Our findings allow us to identify the characteristics of early adopters and consider the potential consequences of the uneven adoption of Industry 4.0.
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