The objective of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which technological specialization influences the observed R&D intensity of countries, and hence would bias the well-known country rankings that consist in comparing aggregate R&D intensity. The econometric analysis performed on a cross-country cross-industry panel dataset (21 industrial sectors, 10 countries, from 1991 to 2002) suggests that accounting for the technological specialization of countries drastically reduces the differences in relative R&D efforts observed at the country level. The only exception is Sweden (and the USA, but to a lower extent), which has an ‘above-than-average’ R&D intensity in most industries. Countries like Finland, Japan or Germany do not have an R&D intensity that is particularly higher than their industrial structure would predict.
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