Manufacturing and Economic Growth in Developing Countries, 1950-2005

15  April 2015    12:00 pm CEST

Bart Verspagen, Director of UNU-MERIT and Director-Dean of the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) at Maastricht University


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna, lecture hall (entrance from the ground floor)


Historically, manufacturing has functioned as the main engine of economic growth and development. However, recent research raises questions concerning the continued importance of the manufacturing sector for economic development. We re-examine the role of manufacturing as a driver of growth in developed and developing countries in the period 1950-2005. We find a moderate positive impact of manufacturing on growth. We also find interesting interaction effects of manufacturing with education and income gaps. In a comparison of the subperiods, it seems that since 1990, manufacturing is becoming a more difficult route to growth than before.

Bart Verspagen is an economist specialised in the economics of technological change. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Limburg (now called Maastricht University) in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 1984 - 1988. After that, he obtained a PhD degree from the same university in 1992. During the five years after that, he held a scholarship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). His workplace is the Economics Department of Maastricht University, as well as the research institute UNU-Merit in Maastricht. At the university, he holds the chair of International Economics.Verspagen's research interests are fairly broad. The centre area is the process of economic growth, and its relation to technological change. This also brings him into areas such as international trade theory, industrial dynamics, economic and technology history, and applied econometrics, statistics and mathematical modelling. With regard to the latter, he has mainly been applying evolutionary theory to economics. This includes simulation modelling of international economies.