Does results and development (R&D) contribute to economic growth in developing countries?
Using UNESCO data for research and development (R&D) expenditures and personnel, the authors document international differences in R&D activities and assess the determinants of these differences and the link between R&D and economic growth. For a group of OECD countries, R&D activity and economic growth are correlated for one of their two proxies. Contrary to the findings of Romer and Lichtenberg, however, they are not correlated across all (including developing) countries. Moreover, even for OECD countries, it appears likely that economic activity affects R&D activity rather than vice versa. First, there is no evidence that R&D in the OECD in the early years of 1970-85 contributed to growth during the whole period. Second, the analysis of determinants of R&D activities suggests that level of income affects R&D activities; apparently R&D becomes important only after a country reaches a certain stage of development. For developing countries, the authors'results are consistent with the widespread view, first proposed by Gershenkron, that countries that are behind grow by catching up technologically, not by advancing the technological frontier.
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