The economics of science

This research is focussed on issues of the economics of science, particularly in middle income countries. Emerging economies are all concerned with improving productivity, and see technological upgrading as a necessary condition. It is well-known that improvements in the human capital stock are an integral part of upgrading, so there is now strong interest in mechanisms underlying the process of knowledge generation (research) and diffusion (education) in these contexts. This research focusses on university science and education, largely in the context of South Africa, where the concern with knowledge upgrading is confounded with the legacies of apartheid and the ongoing struggle to overcome them.

Some Papers

Helena Barnard, Robin Cowan and Moritz Mueller, "Global excellence at the expense of local relevance, or a bridge between two worlds? Research in science and technology in the developing world", Research Policy, vol 41(4): 756-769, 2012

Barnard, Helena, Robin Cowan, Marta Fernandez-Arroyabe and Moritz Mueller “Interpersonal ties and global knowledge flows”, in Handbook of Global Science, Technology and Innovation, Edited by Daniele Archibugi and Andrea Filippetti, Series: Handbooks in Global Policy, Wiley, Oxford, 2015.

Cowan, Robin & Giulia Rossello, 2017, "Emergent structures in faculty hiring networks, and the effects of mobility on academic performance", UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2017-046

Rivera Leon, Lorena, Jacques Mairesse & Robin Cowan, 2016, An econometric investigation of the productivity gender gap in Mexican research, and a simulation study of the effects on scientific performance of policy scenarios to promote gender equality, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2016-072

Barnard, Helena, Robin Cowan, Alan Kirman & Moritz Müller, 2016, Including excluded groups: The slow racial transformation of the South African university system, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2016-024

Barnard, Helena, Robin Cowan & Moritz Müller, 2016, On the value of foreign PhDs in the developing world: Training versus selection effects, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2016-006.


Helena Barnard, Gordon Institute of Business studies, University or Pretoria, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Moritz Mueller, BETA, Faculty of Economics and Manageent, University of Strasbourg.

Alan Kirman, EHESS, Paris

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