Does the knowledge trap exist? The diverging roles of domestic and foreign capacities for evolution of knowledge creation in China, India, Brazil, and Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, 1986-2009

Hannes Toivanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


In development, the issue of domestic insularity and foreign dependency are recurring themes, often invoked as explanatory categories for the success or failure of long-term development. We develop a bibliometric method to assess the relative share of domestic and foreign contributions to production of new knowledge in developing countries to analyze the long-term evolution of research systems in Brazil, China, India, and Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa 1986-2009, as well as provide comparative perspectives with similar data for small, advanced economy country, Finland. Whereas these developing countries established relatively homogenous group of research systems in mid-1980s in terms of knowledge production, their developmental trajectories diverged substantially since mid-1990s in terms of total and relative knowledge production as China and Brazil forged ahead, India and Northern Africa established a middle-tier group, and Sub-Saharan Africa fell further behind. The relative share of domestic capacities correlates with the timing, and subsequent divergence of research systems, as countries with increased domestic knowledge capacities enjoy higher long-term growth in terms of knowledge production, and the other way around. Persistently low or long-term decline of domestic knowledge capacities correlates with lagging growth of research capacities, suggesting that some developing countries may be facing "knowledge traps", unless their research systems undergo structural and strategic reforms
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobelics 2012
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings CD
Place of PublicationHangzhou, China
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventThe 10th GLOBELICS International Conference: Innovation and Development: Opportunities and Challenges in Globalisation - Hangzhou, China
Duration: 8 Nov 201211 Nov 2012


ConferenceThe 10th GLOBELICS International Conference: Innovation and Development: Opportunities and Challenges in Globalisation



  • Research
  • sources of knowledge
  • innovation systems
  • developing countries
  • knowledge trap

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