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Trade Openness, Human Capital and Independent Innovation Capability

【Authors】
ZHANG Kuan & HUANG Lingyun
【WorkUnit】
Chongqing University, 400044.
【Abstract】

Under the new pattern of all-round opening up, planning and promoting scientific and technological innovation with a global perspective and accelerating the pace to enhance independent innovation are important measures for comprehensively implementing innovation-driven development strategies. Talents are the paramount resource of innovation and the essence of innovation drive is talent drive. This paper takes human capital accumulation as the core clue, systematically combs and summarizes the logical relationships between trade openness, human capital and independent innovation ability. Based on the panel data of 274 cities in China from 2005 to 2015, the unified framework of fixed effect model and instrumental variable estimation was adopted to empirically test the impact of trade openness and human capital accumulation on independent innovation capability. The study found that during the inspection period, trade openness and human capital accumulation are significant factors for improving the ability of independent innovation. Compared with trade openness, human capital accumulation has a greater impact on independent innovation capability. For each standard deviation of trade openness and human capital accumulation, the independent innovation capability will increase by 0.0727 and 0.1248 standard deviations respectively. The mechanism test shows that trade openness can enhance the ability of independent innovation by increasing the accumulation of human capital. As human capital represents the core ability to absorb international knowledge and technology, human capital accumulation shows remarkable “threshold-effect” characteristics: the higher the degree of human capital accumulation, the greater the positive impact of trade openness on independent innovation capability. Further heterogeneity analysis shows that the above-mentioned binding effect of human capital accumulation is prominent in the eastern and central regions as well as developed and developing regions, but not so in the western and backward regions. The above conclusions are still valid with urban samples above prefectural administrative level eliminated, the disturbance of outliers considered, and the instrumental variable estimation methods changed.


JEL:E24, F43, O31

【KeyWords】
Trade Openness, Human Capital, Independent Innovation, Learning Effect