How Far Away is Africa? Technological Spillovers to Agriculture and Productivity
Wellesley College Working Paper No. 2000-01
16 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2000
Date Written: January 2000
The debate in less developed nations over whether to adopt stronger patent protection laws emphasizes the tradeoff between encouraging development of relevant technology through the promise of monopoly profits and discouraging application of existing technology through monopoly control of patent rights. We offer empirical evidence that foreign agricultural research is protected by patent in LDCs which are "close" (similar in output choice, cimate/soil type, education levels, and market size). We then estimate the effect of foreign and domestic research on total factor productivity. The results clearly show that Africa is far away from the nations performing most R & D, and will not converge even to other LDC output levels, since they do not benefit from domestic or foreign spillovers.
JEL Classification: O13, O31, O32, O34, Q16
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