Measuring Technology Achievement of Nations and the Capacity to Participate in the Network Age

2002 Occasional Paper
By Desai, Manisha; Fukuda-Parr, Sakiko; Johansson, Claes; Sagasti, Francisco

Disparities among countries in their capacity to create and use technology for development has persisted for a long time and are now huge. It is likely to become an increasingly significant factor in determining patterns of global development and poverty in the 21st century. The last decade’s technological transformations and the emergence of the global marketplace have raised the stakes for all countries to be technologically connected – to be able to create, adapt and use global technological innovations. All countries face the challenges of participating and competing in the technology-based global marketplace and ensuring that technology is harnessed as a tool for human development. Yet the nature of those challenges is very different across countries, because countries vary hugely in their technological capacity and needs. This paper presents a measurement approach to assessing the technological achievements of a country as an aid to policy makers in identifying policy priorities. It develops a Technology Achievement Index (TAI), a composite measure of technological progress that ranks countries on a comparative global scale.