An empirical study of scientific production: A cross country analysis, 1981-2002
This paper presents the results of an econometric approach to examine the determinants of scientific production at cross-country level. The paper aims not to provide accurate and robust estimates of investment elasticities (a doubtful task given the poor quality of the data sources and the modelling problems), but to develop and critically assess the validity of an empirical approach for characterising the production of science and its impact, from a comparative perspective. We employ and discuss the limitations of a production function approach to relate investment inputs to scientific outputs using a sample of 14 countries for which we have information on higher education research and development (HERD). The outputs are taken from the Thomson ISIÂ® national science indicators (2002) database on published papers and citations. The inputs and outputs for this sample of countries have been recorded for a period of 21Â years (1981-2002). A thorough discussion of the data shortcomings is provided. On the basis of this panel dataset we investigate the profile of the time lag between investment in HERD and research output and returns to national investment in science. We devote particular attention to analysing the presence of cross-country spillovers. We show their relevance and underline the international effect of the US system.
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