This paper decomposes productivity (TFP) growth across highly developed OECD countries in the period 1972-2000 into components attributable to domestic R&D output, a catch- up effect, and international technology diffusion via imports of hi-tech products.
The research results show:
all of the variables considered had a positive and significant impact on productivity growth of highly developed OECD countries
own R&D output explains around 11% of this process, a pure catching-up process – between 7% and 16%, an R&D-supported catching-up process – between 27% and 31%, while technology diffusion driven by hi-tech imports explains between 42% and 55% of productivity growth
the most innovative countries in terms of R&D output share in the overall productivity growth were: Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, and the United States
the front-runners in this field: Austria, Canada, Ireland and Norway, achieved high increments in their productivity only because they successfully combined their efforts to simultaneously innovate new technologies and adopt foreign ones