Recent studies have indicated an increased interest in understanding the overall influence of research output on economic growth. Unfortunately, much of the empirical studies carried out were primarily focused on developed countries. Given the recent rise in government spending on research and development in developing countries, it is highly important to examine the impact of academic research output on economic growth. It enables policy makers to evaluate the return of capital invested in research activities. Using two-step SYS-GMM dynamic panel estimation, the present study examines the impact of quantity and quality of research output in all research areas for 15 MENA countries for the period from 2000 to 2017. Our empirical results give evidence of a negative impact of quantity, and positive impact of quality of research output on economic growth in almost all areas of research. Moreover, results support an important and statistically significant impact of research output on economic growth in the following research areas: Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Business, Management and Accounting, Computer Sciences, Energy, Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy. The study results have important policy implications. Policy makers in the MENA countries need to focus on improving the quality not quantity of research output, especially for these research areas, to realize the expected impact of research on economic growth.
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Based on the World bank Database, the R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP for Egypt has increased from 0.2 in 2005 to 0.7 in 2018, from 0.3 in 2002 to 0.7 in 2016 in Jordan, from 0.1 in 2003 to 0.9 in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, from 0.5 in 2000 to 1.0 in 2017 in Turkey, and from 0.5 in 2011 to 1.3 in 2018 in United Arab Emirates.
Note: We should keep in mind that the number of citations is not always a measure of the quality of research. Even though that most of the world universities rankings are based on the number of citations to gauge the quality of research in each university, but this measure is only an approximation. The quality of research should be measured by its impact on the wellbeing of the society.
The subject areas are: 1-Agriculture and Biological Sciences 2-Arts and Humanities 3-Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4-Business, Management and Accounting 5-Chemical Engineering 6-Chemistry 7-Computer Sciences 8-Decision Sciences 9-Dentistry 10-Earth and Planetary Sciences 11-Economics, Econometrics and Finance 12-Energy 13-Engineering 14-Environmental Sciences 15-Health Professions 16-Immunology and Microbiology 17-Material Sciences 18-Mathematics 19-Medicine 20-Multidisciplinary 21-Neuroscience 22-Nursing 23-Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics 24-Physics and Astronomy 25-Psycology 26-Social Sciences 27-Veterinary.
The results for (3) Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, (8) Decision Sciences, and (25) Psychology are significant only for the number of publications.
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Azmeh, C. Quantity and quality of research output and economic growth: empirical investigation for all research areas in the MENA countries. Scientometrics 127, 6147–6163 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-022-04512-5