20 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2007
There is a common perception that low productivity or low growth is due to what can be called an innovation shortfall, usually identified as a low rate of investment in R&D. The problem with this analysis is that it fails to see that a low R&D investment rate may be appropriate given the economy's pattern of specialization, or may be just one manifestation of impediments to accumulation more generally. This paper first shows a simple way to estimate the R&D gap that can be explained by a country's specialization pattern, illustrating it for the case of Chile. Second, we show how a calibrated model can be used to determine the R&D gap that should be expected given a country's investment in physical and human capital. If the actual R&D gap is above this expected gap, then one can say that the country suffers from a true innovation shortfall.
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