Exploring the Relationship between R&D and Productivity: A Country-Level Study
Research and development (R&D) has been considered a source of growth in productivity starting from Schultz (1953). Since then, significant research has studied this relationship at the firm, industry and country level. However, at the country level, most of the empirical studies assessing the R&D-productivity relationship often fail to consider the possible simultaneity of these variables. Do more productive countries invest more on R&D or does the higher level of R&D investment lead to higher levels of productivity? Do both relationships occur at the same time? Using a 65-country panel for the time period of 1960-2000, this study provides evidence that the relationship is mainly based on investment in R&D and not the reverse. In addition, we found that per capita R&D expenditure is strongly exogenous to productivity. These results suggest that, on average, those countries making the most effort in the R&D sector will be more productive in the future. Finally, we present evidence those points out a strong relationship between R&D and productivity in terms of both magnitude and significance.
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