Institutional path dependence and international research intensity

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Whereas there is informal and formal recognition and understanding of research inertia in driving the intensity of research, there is little formal evidence on the role of historical and political legacy or institutional path dependence in affecting research intensity. This paper uses data on about 100 nations to address this aspect, focusing on the long, medium and short-term research intensity. Across two measures of a nation's institutional history, we find that broader national stability positively affects research intensity both in the long and the medium terms, while the narrower path dependence measure supports these findings, albeit with weak statistical significance. The effects on short-term research intensity lack statistical support across both measures. Comparing institutional path dependence with research inertia, we find that both factors significantly affect research intensity. The main findings are robust to various modifications.