Journal Article
No. 2015-40 | November 18, 2015
The Growth Effects of R&D Spending in the EU: A Meta-Analysis
(Published in Special Issue Meta-Analysis in Theory and Practice)


In this paper we conduct a meta-analysis to examine the link between R&D spending and economic growth in the EU and other regions. The results suggest that the growth-enhancing effect of R&D in the EU15 countries does not differ from that in other countries in general, but it is less significant than that for other industrialized countries. A closer inspection of the data reveals that the weak results for the EU15 stem from comparisons with the US – the US has been able to generate a stronger growth response from its R&D spending. Possible explanations for the US advantage include higher private sector investment in R&D and stronger public-private sector linkages than in the EU. Hence, to reduce the “innovation gap” vis-à-vis the US, it may not be enough for the EU to raise the share of R&D expenditures in GDP: continuous improvements in the European innovation system will also be needed, with focus on areas like private sector R&D and public-private sector linkages.

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JEL Classification:

C82, F43, O47, O51, O52


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Cite As

Ari Kokko, Patrik Gustavsson Tingvall, and Josefin Videnord (2015). The Growth Effects of R&D Spending in the EU: A Meta-Analysis. Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 9 (2015-40): 1–26.

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