سرمایه انسانی، تحقیق و توسعه، تجارت، و بهره وری بلندمدت. تست فرضیه درصد جذب تکنولوژیکی برای اقتصاد پرتغالی، 1960-2001
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4834||2010||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research Policy, Volume 39, Issue 3, April 2010, Pages 335–350
An important characteristic of the role of foreign trade in the technological catch-up of countries is the complementary nature with technological change, human capital development and local R&D efforts. Using cointegration techniques, evidence based on Portuguese long-run growth suggests that by investing in certain capacity-building activities, namely human capital and local R&D efforts, countries can improve their ability to identify, value, assimilate, and apply (or exploit) knowledge that is developed in other (more developed) countries. Although human capital has a stronger direct impact on total factor productivity than internal R&D efforts, the latter's indirect impact, by means of machinery and equipment imports, is tremendous. Trade also emerges as a powerful direct contributor to long-term total factor productivity, especially in its embodied form, through the acquisition of advanced machinery and equipment from more developed countries. The (smaller) productivity enhancing effect of licenses and FDI seems to be strongly dependent on institutional circumstances, namely those related to human capital investments and incentives.
A number of studies have identified channels through which productivity levels of countries are interrelated, emphasizing the role of international trade (Xu and Chiang, 2005). The primary channels for international technology transfer during the post-war period were trade of capital goods, foreign direct investment (FDI), and licensing (Mowery and Oxley, 1995). Understanding the effective channels of technology diffusion is essential for policymakers in the face of expanding globalization (Zhu and Jeon, 2007). The possibility of technological transfer is influenced by several factors, namely the social capability of an economy (Abramovitz, 1986), which involves “… various efforts and capabilities that developing countries have to develop in order to catch-up, such as improving education, infrastructures, and, more generally technological capabilities” (Fagerberg and Godinho, 2005: 523). The theory predicts that there may be important interactions between technology imports (in its various forms) and capacity-building activities, such as educational attainment and local R&D efforts, because technology imports boost productivity only when an economy has a threshold level, in terms of educational attainment or local R&D effort, that is high enough to allow for the efficient use of the imported technology (Mayer, 2001). A better understanding of a country's real sources of growth requires examining the human capital–R&D–trade–growth nexus. One of the main problems with empirical studies in this domain is that they do not clearly test the mechanisms through which trade affects total factor productivity. When commenting on the paucity of systematic testing within endogenous growth theory Pack (1994) stressed that using cross-country regressions to explain growth produces irregular orders of magnitude and indications of where to search for explanations of growth, without exploring the connection between factor accumulation and economic growth. In his opinion, “[t]he challenge for empirical work is to test the implications of the … theory more directly, [i.e.] testing its insights against the economic evolution of individual countries using time series data” (Pack, 1994: 70). The interrelationship between trade, human capital, local R&D efforts and growth is likely to be a major issue for Portugal. First, the escalating openness to international trade following World War II is considered an ‘inescapable feature’ in the development of the Portuguese economy (Barros and Garoupa, 1996). Second, in the same period, the structure of imports changed, revealing a steady upward trend in investment goods (Courakis et al., 1990). These were considered decisive to industrialization both as providers of inputs and as a channel of technological transfer (Afonso and Aguiar, 2005). The other two channels for international technology transfer (FDI and acquisition of foreign licenses) are not as consensual as to their impact (FDI) nor do they attract much attention (foreign licensing). Resorting to cointegration techniques, in the present paper, we estimate the relative importance of trade, human capital and R&D (as well as the interaction between the first and the two latter, i.e., the technological absorption hypothesis) on Portuguese long-run growth. The paper is organized as follows. The next section discusses the theory and empirical literature discussing the potential role of technology imports and the importance of human capital and local R&D efforts on the economic performance of countries. Section 3 provides some background on the dynamics of Portuguese technology imports and economic growth, and Section 4 discusses the data sources and proxies for the relevant variables. Section 5 highlights our econometric specification and the estimation results, and Section 6 discusses the main conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In the present paper we constructed empirical, testable specifications which accounted for both the direct and indirect (through technology imports) impact of human capital on the long-run total factor productivity of a country. The results obtained for the period 1960–2001 showed that the direct effect of human capital is quite substantial and higher than that of local business R&D efforts. However, the indirect effect of local R&D effort through lagged capital goods imports emerged as even more critical for Portuguese long-run total factor productivity (TFP). Among the three trade channels considered, machinery and equipment imports have in fact had the greatest and most significant (direct and indirect) impact on TFP. This is not to say that the remaining trade channels are inconsequential, quite the opposite. Portugal's catching-up process is depicted here as a complex process where the distinct trade channels seems to contribute (to differing degrees), by means of technological absorption, to its long-run total factor productivity. The evidence based on the Portuguese case suggests that trade channels as carriers of foreign technological knowledge and capabilities are complementary rather than substitutes. It also goes against the idea that some channels are more important in one stage of development than in another. We have undoubtedly collected solid evidence that for Portugal, classified in the 1960s-1970s (similarly to other NICs such as South Korea), as a ‘followership’ and ‘latecomer’ country, machinery and equipment imports continue to be a stalwart ‘engine’ of growth. However, the ‘fuel’ is presently more intimately related with the country's business R&D efforts, rather than the simple achievement of a given minimum level of (formal) educational attainment. What is in place therefore is not so much a quest for the passive adoption of foreign technology (as a supposedly essential requirement in the early stages of latecomers’ catching-up process), but an imperative for the active development of domestic innovation capabilities which enable the country to take advantage on what is being develop inside and elsewhere, and forging ahead. Thus, the catching-up process in itself has developed a more complex and harsh context, placing increasing demands on technological capabilities and innovation efforts (Fagerberg and Verspagen, 2002). Disembodied technology (measured by current royalties and licensing imports) and inward FDI also impact on Portuguese total factor productivity but the magnitude of the effect is lower (than that of machinery imports) and operate mainly through human capital investment, highlighting the positive role human capital plays in the absorption of international technological advances, favouring the technological absorption hypothesis. These findings have interesting policy implications and call for a ‘redefinition’ of the role of government as the prime agent of change, aiming to provide not only the essential economic and institutional framework, but also the long-term vision, national consensus and collective trust that determine a society's inner dynamism (Aubert and Reiffers, 2003). Public policy plays an important role in shaping a country's national innovative capacity (Furman et al., 2002). But, it is not only a question of simply increasing the level of formal (quantitative) education and R&D resources available to the economy, as a more restricted interpretation of our results may possibly convey; other policy choices, as detailed below, are key to productivity dynamics, as they have huge potential in shaping human capital investment and innovation incentives (Svarc, 2006). The relevance of human capital for Portuguese technological enhancement and economic growth as documented in earlier studies (Teixeira and Fortuna, 2004, Mateus, 2005 and Pereira and St Aubyn, 2009) has been clearly confirmed here. Additionally, corroborating the results of micro-level studies focusing on the relationship between human capital and FDI for Portugal (e.g., Tavares and Teixeira, 2005) and FDI-human capital-growth for a large set of countries (Batten and Vo, 2009), we found that human capital is crucial to enable the FDI spillovers that underpin economic growth. However, low levels of schooling and qualifications represent one of the most serious obstacles to the development of the country, one of the major reasons for the low, non-convergent level of productivity and the divergent trajectory that Portugal has shown when compared to European standards. Despite improvements in recent years, Portugal is still one of the poorest performers in terms of educational attainment of the working-age population.8 Labour market dynamics have favoured low-skilled workers and have not contributed to enhancing education as a factor in increasing employability. This deficit in the importance given to higher educational levels corresponds to a structural weakness within the Portuguese economy and society and favours the early entry of unqualified or semiskilled workers into the labour market (CSF III Observatory, 2007). Increasing human capital is essential to improve the adaptability of the workforce to ongoing structural transformations and to foster stronger productivity growth (OECD, 2008). Portugal suffers from a large educational gap vis-à-vis the rest of the OECD countries and action is required not only to raise the population's level of educational attainment, but also to review the type of education provided and its quality (OECD, 2008 and Pereira and St Aubyn, 2009).9 Given the proven (direct and indirect) relevance of domestic business R&D efforts in TFP, public authorities need to take the lead in fostering innovation in industrial sectors by allocating more resources to support and encourage domestic R&D activities (combining tax-relief policies for business R&D with subsidies for complementary activities undertaken by science- and technology-related organizations—see OECD, 2008).10 It is crucial for the government to adopt a combined strategy in obtaining technology transfer from international trade, which at the same time moves towards developing the industries’ technological capabilities, since technological progress is the driving force behind economic growth in the long run. Greater efforts could be made, for instance, to strengthen links between firms and public research institutions, improve the (advanced) training of workers, or direct research to the specific needs of certain industries (OECD, 2004). This would require purposeful joint strategic efforts from firms, industries, and the government. Indeed, implementing exclusively supply-side policy measures, aimed at unilaterally improving technology infrastructure, and adopting a passive intermediation perspective, a line which was followed in Portugal from the late 1980s until the mid-2000s (Laranja, 2009), are doomed to failure. In an institutional context such as that of Portugal, characterized by low levels of absorptive capacity on the part of business organizations, dominated by low-technology intensive, poorly organized production and processes, and which make an excessive use of poorly qualified workers (CSF III Observatory, 2007), demand-side policies can and should be actively used to improve the match between supply and demand, such as fostering the mobility of young researchers, improving career prospects for public researchers, providing better information to students on employment opportunities in the business sector, and undertaking efforts to increase business R&D which would potentially create additional (high skilled) jobs in the business sector (OECD, 2004). Our findings regarding the relevance of trade on the country's productivity clearly show that, as mentioned by Kim et al. (2009), the notion of desirable exports and undesirable imports may be misguided and counterproductive. In the case of Portugal, we find quite robust evidence in favour of the import-growth nexus. More specifically, we find that imports of certain capital goods have a significant positive impact on TFP. The unmistakable implication for Portuguese policymakers is the need to open further to foreign imports, which will help to bring about technological progress conducive to TFP growth. The additional finding that FDI helps to promote economic growth in a complex and non-linear manner, with FDI flows being leveraged within the economy by key societal variables, namely the level of education, highlights the importance for countries undertaking policy measures aimed at encouraging domestic and foreign investment of the need to incorporate and consider broader social policy objectives – such as educational and institutional reforms – in order to take full advantage of the benefits deriving from inward FDI (Batten and Vo, 2009). Given the complementarities between local R&D efforts and human capital accumulation (Aghion et al., 2009), our results further suggest that Portugal (and other countries sharing similar institutional developments) should place particular emphasis on attracting high-quality and technologically intensive FDI, and provide incentives for multinationals already located in the territory to upgrade production at their sites (Liu and Wang, 2003). The government should build on an economic environment conducive to encouraging (existing and forthcoming) multinationals to introduce advanced technology and conduct R&D activities. Despite some notable improvements at the end of the period 1960–2001, but in an astonishingly similar way to other (developing) countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LACs) (Alcorta and Peres, 1996) and Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs) (Svarc, 2006), technology accumulation, innovation capabilities and the productive use of local research capacity have been tremendously neglected by the Portuguese authorities. The technology-push strategy (lately) initiated by Portugal at the end of the 1980s and continued throughout the 1990s, heavily anchored in the European Structural Funds, overlooked the level of capabilities and corresponding supportive needs of the enterprise sector (Godinho and Simões, 2005). Portuguese authorities relied on a ‘passive intermediation’ (Laranja, 2009) which assumed that technology would spread unidirectionally, from advanced scientific R&D to multiple applications in industry. It assumed additionally that the recipients had the capacity to absorb technological information, neglecting the provision of training and up-skilling to the recipient (Godinho and Simões, 2005 and Laranja, 2009). Innovation policy was thus poorly understood and the building of a national innovation system was often overlooked in favour of other more politically and socially accepted priorities, namely macroeconomic stabilization, privatization, trade liberalization, and FDI (Mateus, 2005). As such, Portuguese science and technology institutions and organizations are far from performing an enabling role (Fagerberg and Godinho, 2005), links and interactions between government-backed organizations, businesses and academia are tenuous (Godinho and Simões, 2005 and Teixeira and Costa, 2006), investment in intangibles and human capital remain one of the lowest among the EU Member States (Pereira and St Aubyn, 2009), and public policy is only partially effective (Macedo, 2007). It is necessary then to account for the matter of policy complementarities (Tavares and Teixeira, 2005). Given the time- and issue-interdependence of reforms, fragmented (piecemeal) policy implementation creates fragilities, which can lead to crises and policy reversals (Macedo, 2007). Portugal's national innovation and institutional framework has been characterized by a proliferation of inadequately grounded policies, which are vulnerable to changes in the political cycle, excessively sectorized, and lack a systemic approach (Godinho and Simões, 2005 and CSF, 2007). The design of institutions, such as wage-bargaining systems, flexibility in work organization and the nature of contractual arrangements, tax-benefit systems, the degree of labour mobility, the adaptability of the workforce, and the educational and training system, determine to a large extent the capacity of a system to swiftly absorb emerging imbalances and to adjust to changes in a competitive environment (EC, 2004). Unfortunately, in this regard, Portugal has also performed poorly (Tavares, 2004).11 As Mowery and Oxley (1995: 67) confirmed in their analysis of Japan and other East Asian economies, “… the economies that have benefited most from inward technology transfer have national innovation systems that have strengthened their ‘national absorptive capacity”’, where such a capacity has primarily relied on investments in scientific and technical training, and on sound, complementary and systemic economic policies that enforce competition among domestic firms. Of course, “… [it] is important to recognize that what works well in one country in one era may work quite differently in a different country or as times change, [which] makes prescription especially difficult.” (Nelson, 2007: 323). Nevertheless, given that history matters (David, 2000) in these particulars, our findings on the Portuguese long-run economic process should not be ignored if the country aims to forge ahead instead of falling behind.