Science and development: Growth, expansion and role of university systems in emerging economies

The challenge of economic growth for middle income countries includes technological upgrading, which, in turn, demands expansion and improvement of the higher education and science system. Emerging economies are faced with a subsidiary problem: how to make that growth “inclusive”. The general concern of the inclusion of excluded groups is reflected specifically in the science system. Benefits from investments to improve the science and higher education system could be restricted to a small (elite) part of the population, and thus not benefit society as a whole. The goal of this project is to examine the science and higher education system in South Africa to understand how it functions, its role in economic growth, and how it expands beyond an “elite” institution. Of particular interest is the way in which the formerly white system of academic science opens to the non-white population. Theoretically, it builds a simple model to focus attention on the interactions among the factors underlying the racial changes in the population of academic scientists. Empirically, it employs a unique dataset to do a very detailed study of the process of inclusion and integration of previously excluded groups.

Project leader(s):
  • Robin Cowan (Strasbourg)

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