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Do Trade Patterns and Technology Flows Affect Productivity Growth?

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  • Keller, Wolfgang

Abstract

This article presents a model suggesting that the pattern of a country's intermediate goods imports affects its level of productivity because a country that imports such goods primarily from technological leaders receives more technology than a country that imports primarily from follower countries. The importance of trade patterns in determining technology flows is quantified using industry-level data for machinery goods imports and productivity from eight member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development between 1970 and 1991. Three conclusions emerge from this work. First, the eight countries studied appear to benefit more from domestic research and development (R&D) than from R&D of the average foreign country. Second, conditional on technology diffusion from domestic R&D, a country's import composition matters only if it is strongly biased toward or away from technological leaders. Third, differences in technology inflows related to the pattern of imports explain about 20 percent of the total variation in productivity growth. The implications of these findings for developing countries are discussed. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Keller, Wolfgang, 2000. "Do Trade Patterns and Technology Flows Affect Productivity Growth?," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 17-47, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:14:y:2000:i:1:p:17-47
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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