We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
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 R&D expenditures (BERD), while the relationship between manufacturing and exports or productivity is more elusive. Finally, we explore whether a manufacturing sector target of 20% of value-added will help reach a BERD target of 3% of GDP.