The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Elhanan Helpman, David Coe, and Alexander Hoffmaister
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
We examine the extent to which developing countries that do little, if any, research and development themselves benefit from R&D that is performed in the industrial countries. By trading with an industrial country that has a large “stock of knowledge” from its cumulative R&D activities, a developing country can boost its productivity by importing a larger variety of intermediate products and capital equipment embodying foreign knowledge, and by acquiring useful information that would otherwise be costly to obtain. Our empirical results, which are based on observations over the 1971-90 period for 77 developing countries, suggest that R&D spillovers from the industrial countries in the North to the developing countries in the South are substantial.