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

Mark Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-596
Number of pages20
JournalCambridge Journal of Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • technological catch-up
  • absorptive capability
  • study abroad
  • economic growth


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