Journal Article

Absorptive capability and economic growth: how do countries catch-up?

Mark Rogers

in Cambridge Journal of Economics

Published on behalf of Cambridge Political Economy Society

Volume 28, issue 4, pages 577-596
Published in print July 2004 | ISSN: 0309-166X
Published online July 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3545 | DOI:

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This paper investigates empirically the importance of technological catch-up in explaining productivity growth in a sample of countries since the 1960s. New proxies for a country's absorptive capability—based on data for students studying abroad, telecommunications and publications—are tested in regression models. The results indicate that absorptive capability is a factor in explaining growth, with the most robust finding that countries with relatively high numbers of students studying science or engineering abroad experience faster subsequent growth. However, the paper also indicates that the significance of coefficients varies across specifications and samples, suggesting caution in focusing on individual results.

Keywords: Technological catch-up; Absorptive capability; Study abroad; Economic growth

Journal Article.  9156 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology