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Convergence in Productivity, R&D Intensity, and Technology Adoption

In the essayConvergence in Productivity, R&D Intensity, and Technology Adoption,” Ana Maria Santacreu analyzes the role of research and technology adoption in achieving economic growth. There are three ways in which a country can achieve economic growth:

  1. Employ more workers.
  2. Give workers more tools (capital).
  3. Use labor and capital more efficiently, which means increased productivity.

Economists have emphasized the role of productivity growth—rather than accumulating more labor or capital—as the main driver of economic growth. In addition, economists believe that innovation is the main engine of productivity growth. Countries that invest more resources into research and development (R&D) expand the technological frontier and grow (Romer, 1990). Yet, in a cross-section of developed countries, the correlation between research intensity (a rough measure of innovation) and economic growth is not very strong, probably because countries can also grow by adopting innovations created elsewhere (Santacreu, 2015). Read the essay here.