What factors underlie industry differences in research intensity and productivity growth? We develop a multi-sector endogenous growth model allowing for industry-specific parameters in the production functions for output and knowledge, and in consumer preferences. We find that long run industry differences in both productivity growth and R&D intensity mainly reflect differences in “technological opportunities”, interpreted as the parameters of knowledge production. These include the capital intensity of R&D, knowledge spillovers, and diminishing returns to R&D. To investigate the quantitative importance of these factors, we calibrate the model using US industry data. We find that diminishing returns to research activity is the dominant factor
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