Knowledge, Technology and Economic Growth: Recent Evidence from OECD Countries
38 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2000
Date Written: October 2000
In this paper we present an international comparison of growth trends in the OECD countries, with a special attention to developments in labour productivity - allowing for human capital accumulation - and multifactor productivity (MFP) - allowing for changes in the composition of fixed capital. An attempt is also made to identify both the embodied (in particular in ICT equipment) and disembodied components of technical progress. The possible relation between improvements in MFP and the accumulation of knowledge (as proxied by R&D expenditures) is discussed, and some tentative policy considerations are advanced, mainly with reference to general framework conditions that might have a bearing in fostering technological changes.
The main conclusions are that some "traditional" factors lay behind the disparities in growth patterns across the OECD countries. In particular, they refer to the ability of countries to employ their labour force. There also seem to be some new factors behind growth performance, especially in connection with the diffusion of ICT and related increases in MFP growth rates in the United States. However, it is too early to say whether, even in the United States, the more recent pick-up in the (disembodied) component of MFP may also be related to the presence of spillover and network effects.
Keywords: Economic growth, productivity, investment, general purpose technologies
JEL Classification: N10, O47
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