Knowledge of African countries: production and value of doctoral dissertations

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Abstract:

The notion that lack of knowledge undermines the economic performance of African countries is deeply and widely held to be true. Yet quantitative evidence for the basis of that truth is few and far in-between. This article first describes a conventional production function approach to the creation of knowledge of African countries in terms of a relative and indirect measure of the quantity of dissertations (D). Second, it assesses the imputed values of knowledge. In the first instance it finds that relative income (Y), population (N), openness (Z), and technical factors (A) are central to the production of knowledge of African countries. In the second instance, the imputed values of knowledge are positive, but of modest magnitude. The results recommend more investment in the production of knowledge of African countries, improved openness, and especially reduced opportunity cost of knowledge creation which now differs widely across countries, and averages 10.7%. For further research the results suggest that dissertations may be useful proxies for human capital in economic growth regressions.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036840601019117

Affiliations: Resource and Engineering Economics Publications Services (REEPS), Glendale, AZ 85302, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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