Knowledge and Development: A Cross-Section Approach

88 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2004

Date Written: November 2004


Chen and Dahlman assess the effects of knowledge on economic growth. By using an array of indicators, each of which represents an aspect of knowledge, as independent variables in cross-section regressions that span 92 countries for the period 1960 to 2000, they show that knowledge is a significant determinant of long-term economic growth. In particular, the authors find that the stock of human capital, the level of domestic innovation and technological adaptation, and the level of information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure all exert statistically significant positive effects on long-term economic growth. More specifically with regard to the growth effects of the human capital stock, they find that an increase of 20 percent in the average years of schooling of a population tends to increase the average annual economic growth by 0.15 percentage point. In terms of innovation, the authors find that a 20 percent increase in the annual number of USPTO patents granted is associated with an increase of 3.8 percentage points in annual economic growth. Lastly, when the ICT infrastructure, measured by the number of telephones per 1,000 persons, is increased by 20 percent, they find that annual economic growth tends to increase by 0.11 percentage point.

This paper - a product of the Global Knowledge and Learning Division, World Bank Institute - is part of a larger effort in the institute to assess the effects of knowledge on economic development.

Keywords: Economic Growth, Economic Development, Knowledge, Education, Innovation, ICT, Technological Spillovers, Governance, Institutions

JEL Classification: O11, O15, O31, O40

Suggested Citation

Chen, Derek H.C. and Dahlman, Carl J., Knowledge and Development: A Cross-Section Approach (November 2004). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3366. Available at SSRN:

Derek H.C. Chen (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-458-1602 (Phone)
202-522-1492 (Fax)

Carl J. Dahlman

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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