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Population and technological innovation: the optimal interaction across modern countries

Population growth is one of the major problems facing the world today because it affects the pattern of sustainable economic growth. Theory of endogenous growth shows that total research output increases faster than proportionally with population due to increases in the size of the market, more intensive intellectual contact and greater specialization. The study here analyses the relationship between population growth and level of technological outputs (patent applications of residents), focusing on OECD countries. The study seems to show the existence of an inverted-U shaped curve between the growth rate of population and the patents with an optimal zone in which the average rate of growth of the population (roughly 0.3131%) is likely to be associated to a higher level of technological outputs. The policy implications of the study are that, in average, it is difficult to sustain a optimal level of technological outputs either with a low (lower than 0.2197%) or high (higher than 1.0133%) average growth rate of population (annual). In addition, the estimated relationship of technological outputs vs. population growth tends to be affected by decreasing returns of technological innovation to population growth.

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Paper provided by Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) in its series CERIS Working Paper with number 201307.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csc:cerisp:201307
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  1. H. Peyton Young, 2009. "Innovation Diffusion in Heterogeneous Populations: Contagion, Social Influence, and Social Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1899-1924, December.
  2. Docquier, Frédéric & Rapoport, Hillel, 2011. "Globalization, Brain Drain and Development," IZA Discussion Papers 5590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  4. Valli Vittorio & Saccone Donatella, 2011. "Economic development and population growth: an inverted-U shaped curve?," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201105, University of Turin.
  5. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2008. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and US Ethnic Invention," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-005, Harvard Business School.
  6. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2008. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," NBER Working Papers 14312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hunt, Jennifer, 2010. "Which Immigrants Are Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial: Distinctions by Entry Visa," CEPR Discussion Papers 7699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Chamon, Marcos & Kremer, Michael, 2009. "Economic transformation, population growth and the long-run world income distribution," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 20-30, September.
  9. Charles I. Jones & Paul M. Romer, 2010. "The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 224-45, January.
  10. Bucci, Alberto, 2008. "Population growth in a model of economic growth with human capital accumulation and horizontal R&D," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1124-1147, September.
  11. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-84, August.
  12. Yasuhiro Sato & Ken Tabata & Kazuhiro Yamamoto, 2008. "Technological progress, income inequality, and fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 135-157, January.
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