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A global decline in research productivity? Evidence from China and Germany

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  • Böing, Philipp
  • Hünermund, Paul

Abstract

In a recent paper, Bloom et al. (2020) find evidence for a substantial decline in research productivity in the U.S. economy during the last 40 years. In this paper, we replicate their findings for China and Germany, using detailed firm-level data spanning three decades. Our results indicate that diminishing returns in idea production are a global phenomenon, not just confined to the U.S.

Suggested Citation

  • Böing, Philipp & Hünermund, Paul, 2020. "A global decline in research productivity? Evidence from China and Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-030, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:20030
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert J. Gordon, 2016. "The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10544.
    2. Nicholas Bloom & Charles I. Jones & John Van Reenen & Michael Webb, 2020. "Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(4), pages 1104-1144, April.
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    5. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 217-273, Elsevier.
    6. Paula E. Stephan, 2010. "The Economics of Science - Funding for Research," ICER Working Papers 12-2010, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    7. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2011. "Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, volume 25, pages 209-246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Fred Gault (ed.), 2013. "Handbook of Innovation Indicators and Measurement," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14427.
    9. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
    10. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-784, August.
    11. Bettina Peters & Christian Rammer, 2013. "Innovation panel surveys in Germany," Chapters, in: Fred Gault (ed.), Handbook of Innovation Indicators and Measurement, chapter 6, pages 135-177, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Boeing, Philipp & Mueller, Elisabeth, 2016. "Measuring patent quality in cross-country comparison," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 145-147.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Naudé, Wim & Nagler, Paula, 2022. "The Ossified Economy: The Case of Germany, 1870-2020," IZA Discussion Papers 15607, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Cauwels, Peter & Sornette, Didier, 2022. "Are ‘flow of ideas’ and ‘research productivity’ in secular decline?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 174(C).
    3. Boxu Yang & Xielin Liu & Yuchen Gao & Langmei Zhu, 2023. "A research on the effectiveness of innovation policy for regional innovation under Chinese long-range plan," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(3), pages 491-508.
    4. Minniti, Maria & Naudé, Wim & Stam, Erik, 2023. "Is Productive Entrepreneurship Getting Scarcer? A Reflection on the Contemporary Relevance of Baumol's Typology," IZA Discussion Papers 16408, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Hajkowicz, Stefan & Sanderson, Conrad & Karimi, Sarvnaz & Bratanova, Alexandra & Naughtin, Claire, 2023. "Artificial intelligence adoption in the physical sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences and the arts and humanities: A bibliometric analysis of research publications from 1960-2021," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    6. Rojko, Katarina & Lužar, Borut, 2022. "Scientific performance across research disciplines: Trends and differences in the case of Slovenia," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2).
    7. Boeing, Philipp, 2020. "Innovative China: R&D subsidies, patent measures, and productivity," ZEW Expert Briefs 20-15, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    8. Boeing, Philipp & Eberle, Jonathan & Howell, Anthony, 2022. "The impact of China's R&D subsidies on R&D investment, technological upgrading and economic growth," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 174(C).
    9. Li, Qing & Hu, Dezhuang & Li, Tang, 2022. "The innovation of family firms in China: New evidence from the China employer-employee survey," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    10. Henri Loubergé, 2021. "Tribute to Orio," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 46(2), pages 293-300, April.
    11. Giovanni Abramo & Ciriaco Andrea D’Angelo & Ida Mele, 2022. "Impact of Covid-19 on research output by gender across countries," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 127(12), pages 6811-6826, December.
    12. Ziesemer, Thomas, 2022. "Mission-oriented R&D and growth of Japan 1988-2016," MERIT Working Papers 2022-034, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    13. Ho, Jerry & Hoang, Vincent & Wilson, Clevo, 2020. "Government R&D Subsidies and International Competitiveness of Labor-managed Firms," MPRA Paper 106896, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 Dec 2020.
    14. Hajkowicz, Stefan & Naughtin, Claire & Sanderson, Conrad & Schleiger, Emma & Karimi, Sarvnaz & Bratanova, Alexandra & Bednarz, Tomasz, 2022. "Artificial intelligence for science – adoption trends and future development pathways," MPRA Paper 115464, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Egeland, Jonathan, 2022. "The ups and downs of intelligence: The co-occurrence model and its associated research program," Intelligence, Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    16. Wim Naudé, 2022. "From the entrepreneurial to the ossified economy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 105-131.
    17. Naudé, Wim & Nagler, Paula, 2021. "The Rise and Fall of German Innovation," IZA Discussion Papers 14154, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity; Growth; Innovation; R&D; Technological Change;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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