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International Trade and Economic Growth: A Possible Methodology for Estimating Cross-Border R&D Spillovers

by Lawrence R. McNeil and Barbara M. Fraumeni

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has initiated a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project to produce an official BEA/NSF R&D Satellite Account (R&DSA). This paper presents a possible trade-based methodology for estimating cross-border R&D spillovers, which reflects an important component of the overall project because spillovers may be formally integrated into the official BEA/NSF R&DSA. Beginning with Coe and Helpman (1995), we evaluate four methodologies used to estimate the impact of international R&D spillovers on economic growth and select Xu and Wang (1999) as the model most appropriate for calculating net outward spillovers. Based on our calculations, we conclude that including cross-border R&D spillovers would increase 1990 U.S. Gross Domestic Product by 0.33%.

Updated: March 24, 2005