Research Bulletin 04: can economic research serve society?

Doing Economic Research that Matters

with Aurora Teixeira (THEOMET)

Research in a Tweet: Aurora’s research falls under an overarching concern with being of service to the community. Some of her most recent contributions in the fields of Economic Growth and of Innovation illustrate this.

‘Why do we do research?’, Aurora Teixeira (THEOMET) asks. ‘Well, first, because we enjoy it! But mostly because we hope it will be worthy to others.’ True to this, Aurora’s work seeks to foster better informed policies and a closer relation of academia to the rest of the community. ‘My role is to get people interested in topics with scientific relevance and to push the state-of-the-art forward, but to do this with both feet on the ground.’

Aurora’s interests are comprehensive and heterogeneous. One she has long pursued is the study of economic growth. ‘Databases are increasingly accessible, and they offer a glimpse of key determinants behind processes of growth and real convergence. This gives us a baseline for better understanding reality and avoid repeating policy mistakes.’ On this topic, Aurora has two recent studies in collaboration with Natalia Doré (CEF.UP): an examination of the overall empirical literature on economic growth from 1991 to 2020, as well as a forthcoming article on the very long-run factors behind Brazil’s economic growth.

Another interest of Aurora’s is the interplay of innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the transfer of technology between universities and firms. In a recent study with Catarina Costa (University of Aveiro) and Joana Costa (University of Aveiro), Aurora’s findings indicate that university-industry collaborations in Portugal are rare, and more likely in larger, R&D intensive firms. ‘In Portugal, firms are mostly very small, with a relatively low technological base, and mainly focused on day-to-day activities’. She believes that ‘this line of research is very promising, but also demanding. Nevertheless, FEP and other faculties should provide this public service.’ Furthermore, in collaboration with PhD and Master’s students, Aurora has also been evaluating the impact of policies promoting R&D at the firm-level, and investigating how technological asymmetries across firms lead to lower average productivity at the macro level.

Still, as Aurora notices, good quality work does little good without communication and dissemination. According to her, ‘we have a lot of researchers with important work on the Portuguese and European economy.’ This, she argues, means that we have both the duty and the opportunity to further disseminate our research in the public sphere.

Click to read more about Aurora's recent contributions

Aurora Teixeira is a full professor at the University of Porto, Portugal and a member of the National Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CNCTI). She is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Academic Ethics. Her main research interests include Human Capital, Economic Growth, Innovation, Bibliometrics, and Academic misconduct.

She may be reached at

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