Basic Research and Growth

Main content

In this project, we examine the role of (public) basic research on long-run economic growth with the aim to derive optimal policies. The main research questions are:

  • What is a country's optimal amount of public basic research expenditure in a globalized world?
  • What is the optimal mix of basic research and applied research?
  • What is the optimal fincancing scheme for basic research?
  • Should basic research efforts be concentrated on certain economic sectors?
  • Should a country that is highly exposed to competition with productivity leaders invest more in basic research than a country that is less exposed?
  • Should a country that is close to the technological frontier invest more in basic research than a country that is lagging behind in productivity?
  • Should a country concentrate its research resources on sectors exposed to foreign competition?
  • Is a concentration of basic research on technologically advanced sectors optimal?
  • Should democratic procedures, expert groups, or bureaucratic procedures using macro-indicators, determine the amount and mix of basic research?
  • Who should be taxed how much to finance public basic research? Entrepreneurs? Workers? In what proportion?
  • Can our theoretical analysis explain present basic-research investment patterns?


  • On the Global Supply of Basic Research, Journal of Monetary Economics, 75(C), 2015, 123-137.
    (Hans Gersbach and Maik T. Schneider)
    Working Paper Version
  • Basic Research, Openness and Convergence, Journal of Economic Growth, 18(1), 2013, 33-68.
    (Hans Gersbach, Maik T. Schneider and Olivier Schneller )
    Working Paper Version (PDF, 1.3 MB)
  • Basic Research and Growth Policy, in D. Foray (ed.): The New Economics of Technology Policy, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, 2009.
    (Hans Gersbach)
  • Handbook of Economic Growth 1, Volumes A and B, Philippe Aghion and Steven N. Durlauf, editors, Journal of Development Economics 90, 323-325, 2009
    (Hans Gersbach and Volker Hahn)

Working Papers

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