The effects of technology-as-knowledge on the economic performance of developing countries: An econometric analysis using annual publications data for Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, 1976-2004
Extant literature indicates that technology, and by implication its underlying knowledge base, determines long-run economic performance. Absent from the literature with respect to developing countries are quantitative assessments of the nexus between technology as knowledge and economic performance. This paper imposes a simple production function on annual pooled observations on Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa over the 1976-2004 period to estimate the marginal impacts of technology as knowledge on economic performance. It finds that capital (k), openness to trade (τ), and even the share of government expenditure of GDP (G) among other factors, influence economic performance. However, the economic performance of countries like Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa depends largely on technology, technological change, and the basic knowledge that forms the foundation for both. For instance, measured as a homogenous “manna from heaven”, technology is the strongest determinant of real per capita income of the three nations. The strength of technology as a determinant of performance depends on the knowledge underpinnings of technology measured as the number of publications (Q, q). Both Q and q are strongly correlated with the countries’ performance. This suggests that the “social capability” and “technological congruence” of these countries are improving, and that developing countries like Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa gain from increased investment in knowledge-building activities including publishing. Obviously there is room for strengthening results, but this analysis has succeeded in producing a testable hypothesis.
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