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How trade patterns and technology flows affect productivity growth

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  • Keller, Wolfgang

Abstract

Earlier studies of spillovers from international research and development (R&D) suggest how economies benefit from R&D conducted abroad. To the extent that countries importing new technologies do not pay in full for the increased variety in intermediate inputs in production, they are reaping an external, or spillover, effect. The author analyzes a particular mechanism through which economies benefit from foreign R&D. The author estimates the extent to which a country benefits from imports of intermediategoods that embody new technology -- the result of foreign investments in R&D. He distinguishes this mechanism from others unrelated to international trade. Using industry-level data for eight OECD countries (Sweden and the G-7 countries) between 1970 and 1991, he estimates the underlying model of trade and growth. This empirical analysis leads to several findings about spillovers from international R&D. First, the productivity effects of foreign R&D vary substantially, depending on which country is conducting the R&D. The quality of newly created technology varies. Second, as a factor influencing productivity, a country's own R&D is more important than that of the average foreign country. It is difficult to separate the effect of importing intermediate goods with embodied technology from a more general spillover effect; often both are present. Third, in the author's sample of industrial countries, international trade contributes about 20 percent of the total effect on productivity from foreign R&D investments. The author conjectures that this effect could be higher for less industrialized countries importing from OECD countries, but stresses that alternative mechanisms (such as foreign direct investment) should be included when estimating the effects of international trade in the international diffusion of technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Keller, Wolfgang, 1997. "How trade patterns and technology flows affect productivity growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1831, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1831
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Coe, David T. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "International R&D spillovers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 859-887, May.
    2. Keller, Wolfgang, 1998. "Are international R&D spillovers trade-related?: Analyzing spillovers among randomly matched trade partners," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1469-1481, September.
    3. Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Mohnen, Pierre, 1998. "International R&D spillovers between U.S. and Japanese R&D intensive sectors," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 315-338, April.
    4. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz & Luis A. Rivera-Batiz, 2018. "International Trade with Endogenous Technological Change," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Francisco L Rivera-Batiz & Luis A Rivera-Batiz (ed.), International Trade, Capital Flows and Economic Development, chapter 2, pages 33-70, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    6. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    7. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz & Luis A. Rivera-Batiz, 2018. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Francisco L Rivera-Batiz & Luis A Rivera-Batiz (ed.), International Trade, Capital Flows and Economic Development, chapter 1, pages 3-32, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Scientific Research&Science Parks; Agricultural Knowledge&Information Systems; Economic Theory&Research; Science Education; Scientific Research&Science Parks; Research and Development; Environmental Economics&Policies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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