Abstract: When targeting frontier technologies, less developed economies usually face obstacles to achieve high growth in the long run, because of their low level of knowledge relative to the adoption technology target. If the intensity in which the adoption activity uses knowledge is high, then the less developed economy may end up trapped in a low growth equilibrium. We show that in this case it is beneficial to target less advanced technologies, which helps to compensate the scarcity of knowledge during the transition. Nevertheless, polarization is possible. If knowledge intensity in the adoption activity is low, then possessing a low stock of knowledge allows targeting the technology frontier even in a poor R&D environment. In this case, all economies achieve a high growth equilibrium in which only income level differences persist in the long run.
Keywords: R&D, adoption, innovation, growth, development, transitional dynamics
JEL: O30, O33, O40