China's “Great Leap Forward” in Science and Engineering
In the past two decades China leaped from bit player in global science and engineering (S&E) to become the world's largest source of S&E graduates and the second largest spender on R&D and second largest producer of scientific papers. As a latecomer to modern science and engineering, China trailed the US and other advanced countries in the quality of its universities and research but was improving both through the mid-2010s. This paper presents evidence that China's leap benefited greatly from the country's positive response to global opportunities to educate many of its best and brightest overseas and from the deep educational and research links it developed with the US. The findings suggest that global mobility of people and ideas allowed China to reach the scientific and technological frontier much faster and more efficiently.
Forthcoming in Geuna A. (ed.) "Global Mobility of Research Scientists. The Economics of who goes where and why." Academy Press, 2015. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Richard B. Freeman and Wei Huang, Chapter 6 - China’s “Great Leap Forward” in Science and Engineering, In Global Mobility of Research Scientists, edited by Aldo Geuna,, Academic Press, San Diego, 2015, Pages 155-175, ISBN 9780128013960, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-801396-0.00006-5.