Central European Journal of Operations Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 933–950 | Cite as

Are economically advanced countries more efficient in basic and applied research?

  • Vladimír Holý
  • Karel Šafr
Original Paper


Research and development (R&D) of countries play a major role in a long-term development of the economy. We measure the R&D efficiency of all 28 member countries of the European Union in the years 2008–2014. Super-efficient data envelopment analysis (DEA) based on robustness of classification into efficient and inefficient units is adopted. We use the number of citations as output of basic research, the number of patents as output of applied research and R&D expenditures with manpower as inputs. To meet DEA assumptions and to capture R&D characteristics, we analyze a homogeneous sample of countries, adjust prices using purchasing power parity and consider time lag between inputs and outputs. We find that the efficiency of general R&D is higher for countries with higher GDP per capita. This relation also holds for specialized efficiencies of basic and applied research. However, it is much stronger for applied research suggesting its outputs are more easily distinguished and captured. Our findings are important in the evaluation of research and policy making.


Research and development Basic and applied research Efficiency Data envelopment analysis 



This work was supported by the Czech Science Foundation under the project DYME—Dynamic Models in Economics, No. P402/12/G097. We would like to thank Milan Hladík for his help with the Chebyshev distance DEA, Jakub Fischer for his comments and Alena Holá for proofreading.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconometricsUniversity of Economics, PraguePrague 3Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Economic StatisticsUniversity of Economics, PraguePrague 3Czech Republic

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