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Academic knowledge and economic growth: are scientific fields all alike

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The aim of the paper is to contribute the debate on the accountability of the academic system. To this it grafts the recent advances of the economics of knowledge into the economics of the academic system. The paper elaborates and tests the hypothesis that there are different types of academic knowledge that exert different effects on economic growth. The recent advances of the economics of knowledge enable to appreciate the differences among types of academic knowledge in terms of appropriability, fungibility and cumulability, field of application and with respect to the specificities of the generation process. Building upon these bases, distinctions can be made between knowledge in hard sciences, social sciences, humanities and medical sciences. The hypotheses are tested on OECD data about the numbers of university graduated students in the years 1998-2008 in 16 countries with a simple production function. The results stress the differences in the output elasticity of each discipline and confirm their wide differences in the capability to contribute economic output. The policy implications are important: public support to the academic system, advocated to support economic growth, should not be spread uniformly across academic disciplines but rather focus the academic fields that are better able to contribute economic growth..

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  • Antonelli Cristiano & Fassio Claudio, 2012. "Academic knowledge and economic growth: are scientific fields all alike," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201203, University of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:uto:labeco:201203
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    1. Which academic field contributes most to economic growth?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-08-02 19:48:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Alessandra Venturini, Fabio Montobbio and Claudio Fassi, 2012. "Are Migrants Spurring Innovation?," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/11, European University Institute.
    2. Cristiano Antonelli & Nicola Crepax & Claudio Fassio, 2013. "The cliometrics of academic chairs. Scientific knowledge and economic growth: the evidence across the Italian Regions 1900–1959," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 38(5), pages 537-564, October.
    3. Link, Albert N. & Antonelli, Cristiano, 2015. "Strategic Alliances: An Introductory Framework," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201511, University of Turin.
    4. Cristiano Antonelli, 2016. "The bumpy ride to the knowledge economy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(3), pages 337-344, September.

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