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R&D and Absorptive Capacity: Theory and Empirical Evidence

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  • Rachel Griffith
  • Stephen Redding
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

This paper presents a single unified framework that integrates the theoretical literature on Schumpeterian endogenous growth and major strands of the empirical literature on R&D, productivity growth and productivity convergence. Starting from a structural model of endogenous growth following Aghion and Howitt (1992, 1998), we provide microeconomic foundations for the reduced‐form equations for total factor productivity (TFP) growth frequently estimated empirically using industry‐level data. R&D affects both innovation and the assimilation of others’ discoveries (“absorptive capacity”). Long‐run cross‐country differences in productivity emerge endogenously, and the analysis implies that many existing studies underestimate R&D's social rate of return by neglecting absorptive capacity.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2003. "R&D and Absorptive Capacity: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(1), pages 99-118, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:105:y:2003:i:1:p:99-118
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-9442.00007
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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