Many industrialized countries in Europe and North America have experienced a steady decline in the manufacturing sector over the last few decades. Amid growing concerns that outsourcing and offshoring have destabilized European economies, policymakers have suggested that a large manufacturing sector can: i)boost R&D, ii)encourage exporting, and iii)raise productivity. We examine these claims. Non-parametric plots and regressions show a robust positive association between the manufacturing sector and Business Expenditures on R&D (BERD), while the relationship between manufacturing and exports or productivity is more elusive. Our results suggest that increasing the manufacturing value added share may lead to an overall higher R&D intensity, because the manufacturing sector generally has a higher R&D intensity than the non-manufacturing business sector, although manufacturing sector R&D does not seem to create externalities leading to higher non-manufacturing R&D.
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