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China's “Great Leap Forward” in Science and Engineering

Richard Freeman () and Wei Huang ()

No 21081, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: In the past two decades China leaped from bit player in global science and engineering (S&E) to become the world's largest source of S&E graduates and the second largest spender on R&D and second largest producer of scientific papers. As a latecomer to modern science and engineering, China trailed the US and other advanced countries in the quality of its universities and research but was improving both through the mid-2010s. This paper presents evidence that China's leap benefited greatly from the country's positive response to global opportunities to educate many of its best and brightest overseas and from the deep educational and research links it developed with the US. The findings suggest that global mobility of people and ideas allowed China to reach the scientific and technological frontier much faster and more efficiently.

JEL-codes: I2 I23 J0 J24 O3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-ino, nep-lab and nep-tra
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Published as Richard B. Freeman and Wei Huang, Chapter 6 - China’s “Great Leap Forward” in Science and Engineering, In Global Mobility of Research Scientists, edited by Aldo Geuna,, Academic Press, San Diego, 2015, Pages 155-175, ISBN 9780128013960, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-801396-0.00006-5.

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