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How to optimize the allocation of research resources? An empirical study based on output and substitution elasticities of universities in Chinese provincial level

Zhuo Chen, Zhenbing Yang and Lili Yang

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2020, vol. 69, issue C

Abstract: Although significant progress has been made in China's basic research in recent years, there remains a wide gap between research in China and that from developed countries. How to optimize the allocative efficiency of research resources is of great importance for increasing research output. In this paper, using the fixed effect stochastic frontier model based on the translog production function, we estimate output and substitution elasticities of research and development (R&D) inputs at universities in China's provincial level during 2009–2016. We find that the R&D technical efficiency of China's universities, after a rapid growth, has tended to become relatively stable. Improvements of internationalization degree and exogenous R&D capabilities are conducive to promoting R&D technical efficiency, whereas expenditures from government grants inhibit the promotion of R&D technical efficiency; the effects of R&D capital deepening and internet penetration are not evident. The output elasticity of R&D capital is much higher than that of R&D personnel, suggesting that R&D capital is the main driving force of research output. The substitution elasticity between R&D capital and personnel has experienced a change from substitution to complementary since 2014. To realize sustained growth of research output, we should increase R&D input with positive output elasticity or reduce R&D input with negative output elasticity, making the necessary trade-offs according to the substitution relationship between the two R&D inputs.

Keywords: Basic research; Output elasticity; Substitution elasticity; R&D inputs; Chinese universities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:soceps:v:69:y:2020:i:c:s0038012118304075

DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2019.04.004

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