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The impact of research output on economic growth by fields of science: a dynamic panel data analysis, 1980–2016

Tânia Pinto () and Aurora Teixeira ()
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Tânia Pinto: University of Porto

Scientometrics, 2020, vol. 123, issue 2, No 17, 945-978

Abstract: Abstract Whether research output significantly impacts on economic growth, and which research areas/fields of science matter the most to improve the economic performance of countries, stand as fundamental endeavors of scientific inquiry. Although the extant literature has analyzed the impact of research output on economic growth both holistically and by field, the impact of academic knowledge as a capital good (hard and social sciences) versus a final good (medical and humanities) has been largely neglected in analyses involving large sets of countries over a broad period of time. Based on a sample of 65 countries over 36 years (1980 to 2016), and employing system GMM dynamic panel data estimations, four main results are worth highlighting: (1) holistic research output positively and significantly impacts on economic growth; (2) both the academic knowledge of scientific areas that most resemble capital goods (physical sciences, engineering and technology, life sciences or social sciences) or final goods (base clinical, pre-clinical and health or arts and humanities) foster economic performance; (3) the global impact of research output is particularly high in the fields of engineering and technology, social sciences, and physics; and (4) the impact of research output on economic growth occurs mainly through structural change processes involving the reallocation of resources towards the industrial sector.

Keywords: Research output; Fields of research; Economic growth; Human capital; Structural change; Dynamic panel data; System GMM estimation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s11192-020-03419-3

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