Knowledge gaps in Latin America and the Caribbean and economic development

Pablo Jarrín-V, Fander Falconí, Pedro Cango, Jesus Ramos-Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


An economy based on primary products is present in most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. These remain focused on the export of unprocessed materials and goods, with little added value from knowledge and technology, which creates a development gap with technologically advanced countries and regions. By using a set of 5 quantitative indicators, we provided a novel assessment of growth gaps in the production of knowledge across world regions. Our study interpreted growth curves in terms of their essential constituent components (i. e. size, tempo, and intensity). Latin America and the Caribbean remains a region with average or below-average performance for most indicators of knowledge and most components of growth. The region shows a relatively large intensity for growth in patent applications, high-tech exports, and scientific publications, and this may have to do with recent investment in R&D by some Latin American countries. Although education gaps are slightly closing, research and technological gaps, measured by patent applications and scientific publications, are widening and driving up the resulting gaps in economic growth. Our study adds to other assessments of growth gaps in establishing the existence of an increasing divide between Latin America and the Caribbean and the developed world regions. We also propose strategy recommendations in the context of the current observed gaps in the production of knowledge. Bridging knowledge gaps represents a historical imperative and an unavoidable condition for the economic and social progress of the Latin American region. Therefore, active domestic public policies are urgently needed, along with international agreements that contribute to democratizing access to knowledge and technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105602
JournalWorld development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Development
  • Intellectual property
  • Knowledge gaps
  • Latin America
  • Technological change


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