Knowledge of African Countries: Production and Value of Doctoral Dissertations

Posted: 6 Feb 2008


The notion that lack of knowledge undermines the economic performance of African countries is deeply and widely held to be true. Yet quantitative evidence for the basis of that truth is few and far in-between. This article first describes a conventional production function approach to the creation of knowledge of African countries in terms of a relative and indirect measure of the quantity of dissertations (D). Second, it assesses the imputed values of knowledge. In the first instance it finds that relative income (Y), population (N), openness (Z), and technical factors (A) are central to the production of knowledge of African countries. In the second instance, the imputed values of knowledge are positive, but of modest magnitude. The results recommend more investment in the production of knowledge of African countries, improved openness, and especially reduced opportunity cost of knowledge creation which now differs widely across countries, and averages 10.7%. For further research the results suggest that dissertations may be useful proxies for human capital in economic growth regressions.

Keywords: knowledge production, value knowledge, African countries dissertations

JEL Classification: O55, O15, N37, E23, D83, C51, R39, Y4

Suggested Citation

Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich S., Knowledge of African Countries: Production and Value of Doctoral Dissertations. Applied Economics, Vol. 39, No. 21, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Voxi Heinrich S. Amavilah (Contact Author)

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