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Trade Patterns, Technology Flows, and Productivity Growth

  • Wolfgang Keller

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This paper presents a model of international trade in differentiated intermediate goods. Because intermediates are invented through costly R&D investments, employing foreign intermediates implies sharing the return to R&D with the inventor country. I first derive a relation of how domestic productivity is related to foreign R&D investments. In the subsequent empirical analysis, industry level data for eight OECD countries between 1970-91 is used to estimate that relation. The robustness of interpreting empirical findings is emphasized, to which effect I employ Monte-Carlo techniques, and the part of international R&D spillovers that is related to trade is quantified. I find evidence, first, that domestic and foreign R&D affect productivity differently, in contrast to assuming symmetric effects. Second, the productivity effects resulting from R&D vary substantially by which country conducts the R&D. Third, I find that the composition of a country's import partners does not significantly affect the estimated effect from foreign R&D, indicating a large component in the benefit from foreign R&D which is not related to trade. Lastly, I estimate that international trade contributes about 20% to the total productivity effect from foreign R&D.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 9702001.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 25 Feb 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:9702001
Note: Type of Document - Tex; prepared on IBM PC - PC-TEX; to print on HP and PostScript; pages: 18; figures: request from author
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  1. Coe, David T & Helpman, Elhanan & Hoffmaister, Alexander, 1995. "North-South R&D Spillovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 1133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Coe, David T & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "International R&D Spillovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 840, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  5. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Working papers 527, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Park, Walter G, 1995. "International R&D Spillovers and OECD Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(4), pages 571-91, October.
  7. Wolfgang Keller, 1997. "Are International R&D Spillovers Trade-Related? Analyzing Spillovers Among Randomly Matched Trade Partners," NBER Working Papers 6065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Frank Lichtenberg & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 1996. "International R&D Spillovers: A Re-Examination," NBER Working Papers 5668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Wolfgang Keller, 1996. "Trade and the Transmission of Technology," Development and Comp Systems 9609001, EconWPA.
  10. Rivera-Batiz, Luis A. & Romer, Paul M., 1991. "International trade with endogenous technological change," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 971-1001, May.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1990. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 3528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jeffrey I. Bernstein & Pierre Mohnen, 1994. "International R & D Spillovers between U.S. and Japanese R & D intensive sectors," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9406, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  14. Nadiri, M.I., 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," Working Papers 93-31, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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