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Do Trade Patterns and Technology Flows Affect Productivity Growth?

  • Keller, Wolfgang

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.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 17-47

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:14:y:2000:i:1:p:17-47
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  1. David T. Coe & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "International R&D Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1990. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," DELTA Working Papers 90-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Coe, David T & Helpman, Elhanan & Hoffmaister, Alexander, 1995. "North-South R&D Spillovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 1133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Wolfgang Keller, 1997. "Are International R&D Spillovers Trade-Related? Analyzing Spillovers Among Randomly Matched Trade Partners," NBER Working Papers 6065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nadiri, M.I., 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," Working Papers 93-31, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1990. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 3528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "International Trade with Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jeffrey I. Bernstein & Pierre Mohnen, 1994. "International R & D Spillovers between U.S. and Japanese R & D intensive sectors," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9406, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  11. Frank Lichtenberg & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 1996. "International R&D Spillovers: A Re-Examination," NBER Working Papers 5668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  13. Park, Walter G, 1995. "International R&D Spillovers and OECD Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(4), pages 571-91, October.
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