Why are Some Countries Better at Science and Technology?: New Theory and Evidence"

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Thursday September 11, 2014
      3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Location: Ferst Room, Library
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Aaron Levine



Summary Sentence: Part of the SPP Speaker Series

Full Summary:
"Why are Some Countries Better at Science and Technology?: New Theory and Evidence"
Mark Zachary Taylor, PhD
Associate Professor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology
Thursday, September 11, 2014, 3 – 4:30
Location: Ferst Room, Library (7th Floor)

  • Mark Zachary Taylor Mark Zachary Taylor


Why are some countries better at science and technology (S&T) than others? Much of this debate has focused on identifying the most effective domestic policies and institutions for promoting science and technology, generally ignoring the international relations components. However, after decades of research, we still lack consensus on precisely which policies or institutions determine national innovation rates, or exactly how they do so. One explanation for this lack of consensus is that, in focusing on best policies and institutions, scholars ignore the underlying politics of S&T. That is, current innovation research often assumes widespread support for progress in science and technology; it then asks what types of policies and practices will achieve the best results. This talk presents recent empirical research along with theory development to make the case for a new, security-based explanation for differences in national innovation rates. It posits that the balance of two opposing forces (domestic tensions vs. external threats) drive national innovation rates in the long-run. Put simply, the theory generated here is that, all else equal, countries for which external threats are relatively greater than domestic tensions should have higher technological innovation rates than countries for which domestic tensions outweigh external threats. Prima facie case study and statistical evidence are presented to demonstrate the plausibility of this hypothesis.


Formerly a solid state physicist, Zak Taylor now specializes in the politics of science, technology, and innovation. His research has been published in policy and academic journals including International Organization, Foreign Affairs, and Security Studies.


Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

School of Public Policy

Invited Audience
Undergraduate students, Faculty/Staff, Public, Graduate students
SPP, SPP Speaker Series
  • Created By: Leslie Ross
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Sep 9, 2014 - 6:48am
  • Last Updated: Apr 13, 2017 - 5:21pm