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Does results and development (R&D) contribute to economic growth in developing countries?

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Author Info

  • Birdsall, Nancy
  • Rhee, Changyong

Abstract

Using UNESCO data for research and development (R&D) expenditures and personnel, the authors document international differences in R&D activities and assess the determinants of these differences and the link between R&D and economic growth. For a group of OECD countries, R&D activity and economic growth are correlated for one of their two proxies. Contrary to the findings of Romer and Lichtenberg, however, they are not correlated across all (including developing) countries. Moreover, even for OECD countries, it appears likely that economic activity affects R&D activity rather than vice versa. First, there is no evidence that R&D in the OECD in the early years of 1970-85 contributed to growth during the whole period. Second, the analysis of determinants of R&D activities suggests that level of income affects R&D activities; apparently R&D becomes important only after a country reaches a certain stage of development. For developing countries, the authors'results are consistent with the widespread view, first proposed by Gershenkron, that countries that are behind grow by catching up technologically, not by advancing the technological frontier.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1221.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 1993
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1221

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Related research

Keywords: Science Education; Scientific Research&Science Parks; Research and Development; Achieving Shared Growth; Economic Theory&Research;

References

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  1. Baumol, William J & Wolff, Edward N, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1155-59, December.
  2. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  3. Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1992. "R&D Investment and International Productivity Differences," NBER Working Papers 4161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Easterly, William & DEC, 1994. "Explaining miracles : growth regressions meet the Gang of Four," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1250, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Pradhan, Jaya Prakash, 2011. "Regional heterogeneity and firms’ innovation: the role of regional factors in industrial R&D in India," MPRA Paper 28096, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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