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R&D and Absorptive Capacity: Theory and Empirical Evidence

  • Rachel Griffith
  • Stephen Redding
  • John Van Reenen

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. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2002 .

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 105 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 99-118

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:105:y:2003:i:1:p:99-118
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  1. Dowrick, Steve, 1989. "Sectoral change, catching up and slowing down : OECD post-war economic growth revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 331-335, December.
  2. Scherer, F M, 1982. "Inter-Industry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 627-34, November.
  3. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-73, December.
  4. Prescott, Edward C, 1998. "Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 525-51, August.
  5. Par Hansson & Magnus Henrekson, 1994. "What makes a country socially capable of catching up?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 130(4), pages 760-783, December.
  6. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
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