This chapter reviews the available evidence regarding the role and relationship between research and development (R & D) and the performance of firms, sectors and industries, and nations. The broad range of evidence regarding these links is examined, and particular emphasis is placed on the role of new and general-purpose technological change. The chapter then proceeds to frame these discussions in the context of the issues arising from the emergence of the transatlantic productivity gap during the 1990s, a productivity gap which challenged much of the orthodox thinking regarding these relationships.
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