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Level3Kobold t1_je4dc24 wrote

That graph makes me think that research spending does not improve HDI.

According to the graph, about half of latin american countries spend considerably less on research than Brazil does, but have higher HDI anyway.

It looks like having a higher HDI simply allows countries to contribute more money to research - which some of them choose to do and others don't.


kingkeren t1_je4h4df wrote

Yep. Remember, every person that confuses correlation and causation ends up dead


ProLibertateCH t1_je4tgmj wrote

But correlation is still a necessary condition for causation. Necessary, not sufficient. So to die, you first need to live. Does life cause death ? Until someone lives eternally, we can’t really tell…


scheav t1_je55lsj wrote

You have have causation without correlation.


Klass13 t1_je5zr1v wrote

I've heard this but not entirely how it would work, care to elaborate? Is it because there may be another different variable which cancels out the causality effect leaving non observable correlation?


compounding t1_je6a9wj wrote

That’s one case, yes. Think of a situation where the causal effect is only responsible for a small portion of the observed outcomes, so the gross correlation could even run backwards due to other factors despite known causation in part of the sample.

Or there could be other causal factors stemming from the original cause that push back the observed correlation which need to be accounted for. Certain genes are known to cause breast cancer at such a high rate that everyone who screens positive for them might choose to get double mastectomies, causing breast cancer rates to actually fall among that group. I don’t think this is actually true, but it’s a hypothetical example of a case where no or even reverse correlation might exist despite known and strong causation.


Klass13 t1_je6ro8m wrote

That's amazing, thanks! Do you happen to know any good subreddit about stats and whatnot?


compounding t1_je7g0uy wrote

Not in particular to stats, no, but I also haven’t really looked for something like that.

Maybe the only place I know that might have a higher than usual concentration would be /r/slatestarcodex, which has some small overlapping interest in Bayesian reasoning and is generally more interested than other communities in using stats accurately rather than just as a tool to prove pre-determined point (sometimes).


SerialStateLineXer t1_je83s9x wrote

People who take antidepressants are more depressed than people who do not. If we just look at the correlation, we might assume that antidepressants cause depression, but the opposite is true.

In this case, there's still a correlation, but the sign is the opposite of the true causal effect of taking antidepressants.

Alternatively, consider a car being driven over a hilly road at a constant speed. When the car is going uphill, it's burning more gas. There's no correlation between speed and gas consumption, but gas consumption increases speed.


958958958 t1_je5phjg wrote

Though only in a dataset of 1, right? Or is there something I'm missing?


bluesam3 t1_je6cva8 wrote

No, you can have it in datasets of any size. If X causes Y, but also it just happens that in your dataset there's some other factor Z that causes (not Y) and happens to correlate strongly with X (in your dataset). For example, if exposure to some substance causes cancer, but people who are exposed to that substance tend to be exposed to vast quantities of it that kill them immediately (thereby preventing the vast majority of them from living long enough to develop cancer), you'd have a definite causation, but no (or even a reversed) correlation.


958958958 t1_jeetylt wrote

Good point! I think was more considering this within the context of a single dataset, without outside knowledge. If I read your example correctly (please correct me if I don't), the dataset described above would not contain evidence of X causing Y or if the dampening effect of Z is not complete X would correlate with Y (though perhaps weakly). Thought there may again be something I'm missing ;)


sciencesebi3 t1_je8w0ed wrote

Lolwhut. It's the other way around...

I'm screenshotting this


Glenster118 t1_je6hlcq wrote

Aye. Wealthy countries can spend on r&d and initiatives that improve HDI.


Astrovik3 t1_je57uu0 wrote

Yeah, i don't think so either. Brazil and Ireland spends almost the same amount on R&D, but Ireland has .95 and Brazil .75...


Temporary-Alarm-744 t1_je741l4 wrote

I would say the indigenous slaughter holds it back quite a bit


e2357 t1_je5mo1g wrote

Well, of course that even a reasonably designated investment in research and development will not have an immediate impact in HDI and will not be the only factor contributing to it. Do you know how long have Brazil been investing this much? Or how reasonable this expenditure is? If any, from this graph, Brazil looks more like an outlier. Similar to China, whose HDI have been actually improving a lot during last decades and this correlates well with its R&D level of investment. Not the HDI number itself but the rate of improvement of it.


Level3Kobold t1_je5neyh wrote

>Not the HDI number itself but the rate of improvement of it.

That would probably be a more useful piece of information to graph.


ArnoF7 t1_je510x4 wrote

Yes it’s complicated. If you are a petro state, or rich in some natural resources. Then you don’t have to spend so much on RD to live a cushy life.

It can also be hard to reap the rewards from RD investment. A lot of high tech industries go through several consolidations and only the very top can remain and control the market. For example semiconductor, aerospace and etc. Being okayish doesn’t bring much in return in too many industries.


Level3Kobold t1_je52yih wrote

>Being okayish doesn’t bring much in return in too many industries.

I think this is a major factor. There's no prize for second place when it comes to R&D. Especially if you don't have the infrastructure to actually make use of the R you're D'ing.


ArnoF7 t1_je54egq wrote

I wouldn’t say all industries have no place for the second place, but yeah this is true for a decent many


CaptainSasquatch t1_je5pcrp wrote

> It looks like having a higher HDI simply allows countries to contribute more money to research - which some of them choose to do and others don't.

It could be even more complicated than that. R&D could lead to higher HDI, but there could be structural problems that prevent both of them from increasing. Governments in now HDI countries may struggle with state capacity to collect taxes/revenue and not be able to subsidize research and are also not able to provide basic rule of law and order for development. There may be problems with corruption and private R&D might not have any returns because other politically connected businesses will steal their innovations with impunity.

I'd be willing to believe that R&D/investments in technology can cause higher development. You can look at the late developing east Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) as a possible example. The problem is that most poorer countries have problems that prevent development or sustained investment in R&D.


Artoriuz t1_je5qmvo wrote

Brazil is a much larger country and also much more diverse. We have wildly different regions with wildly different histories.

The São Paulo state, for example, has an area comparable to the UK and a HDI of roughly 0.83, which is roughly on par with the other South American countries.


AndLD t1_je79sf4 wrote

Also 1,5 could be considered a good ratio for research investment, were with good strategies should work as good as more investment


Gigagondor t1_jegzcbn wrote

It would be better a graph about how much they invested 10 or 20 years ago.


AmthorsTechnokeller t1_je4x2ey wrote

High > low > medium > very high

Somebody had a stroke making this


bgraham111 t1_je4lmmx wrote

What's up with the key? Is it just random? That needs to be fixed, it's not beautiful.


XMORA t1_je4s88p wrote

There is not direct correlation, there are historical facts. Many countries in green were pioneers or grew during the industrial revolution from way back like 100-150 years ago. They are now rich countries and they can invest profits in more R&D. Latinoamerican countries have to do a lot more than increasing a couple of percentage points of their small GDP in R&D, the gap is huge, probably decades and economical miracles will be needed.


AftyOfTheUK t1_je6103w wrote


Societal well-being tends to be high in countries with with income.

High income strongly implies available spend for education and research.

Is this chart significantly different from just plotting wealth levels?


EatMoreBlueberries t1_je5xtty wrote

The chart leaves off the two countries with the highest rates of R&D, Korea (4.8%) and Israel (5.4%). Both would be off the right edge of the chart. The two have followed similar tracks: rapid economic expansion with a heavy emphasis on technology. Steadily improving human development.

Both realized that they are too small to compete on economies of scale with bigger countries, but they can compete in education and high tech. I think they are the economic model to emulate.


ApocalypseNah t1_je6gdrr wrote

It’s also a great example of development with little to no exportable natural resources. You’re not dependent on climate, or your neighbours. An R&D industry also enables startups, which leads to global companies forming that provide unique solutions you can’t get elsewhere giving you leverage on the world stage. Large companies start opening HQs in your country.


latinometrics OP t1_je48vh7 wrote

From our newsletter:

You might notice something when looking at the above chart. Many of the countries that top 2% of GDP in spending on research and development (R&D) – whether it be France and Germany or Japan and the United States – are among the world’s largest and most industrialized economies. Even China, which is one development category below, spends a notably high amount of its massive economy on R&D.

No doubt, to be a major player in the world today you have to be at the forefront of emerging technologies and innovation — and dedicated public funding is a big part of that.

Enter: Brazil.

South America’s giant is leading its neighbors in terms of R&D expenditure and it’s not even close. Brazil spends the equivalent of roughly 1.2% of its economy—which doesn’t seem like much, until you realize that Brazil’s economy is worth over $1.6T, making its investment come out to nearly $20B each year. That’s roughly the size of Haiti’s entire GDP or close to McDonald’s total annual revenue! As the largest public spender in the region by far, Brazil’s closest peers by this metric are developed European countries rather than its own neighbors.

Brazil’s R&D expenditure takes the form of research done in world-renowned public universities such as the University of São Paulo or the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It can also be seen in the consistent modernization of Brazil’s armed forces and the scientific and medical breakthroughs propelled by government-funded private companies. From AI and vaccine development to sustainable agriculture and renewable energy research, Brazilians are at the forefront of regional innovation.

Public R&D has been tied to greater growth and productivity for countries and their private sectors, so Brazilian policymakers have got the right idea. Now comes the tough part: making sure that the public funding goes towards sectors that maximize growth and minimize inequities. After all, scientific breakthroughs and technological advances are not just cool—they can eradicate diseases and improve the lives of everyday citizens. For proof, just ask the thousands of families impacted by the 2016 revelation by Brazilian medical researchers that the Zika virus could lead to brain damage for infants.

While there remains work to be done if Brazil wants to match its peers in London or Tokyo, it’s worth recalling that every country currently investing more in R&D is also quite richer. Brazil may have a long way to go in making sure the benefits of development and public expenditure are spread equally—but more than any other Latin American country, it’s well on its way.

Source: UNDP, World Bank
Tools: Rawgraphs, Affinity Designer


eddythebamba t1_je534xi wrote

>Brazil’s R&D expenditure takes the form of research done in world-renowned public universities such as the University of São Paulo or the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It can also be seen in the consistent modernization of Brazil’s armed forces and the scientific and medical breakthroughs propelled by government-funded private companies. From AI and vaccine development to sustainable agriculture and renewable energy research, Brazilians are at the forefront of regional innovation.

Since Michel Temer's and then Bolsonaro's government.. this is not a reality anymore.


Moist-Meat-Popsicle t1_je4oh1i wrote

Interesting graph. I wonder if this is a “what comes forest, chicken versus egg?” phenomenon. Correlated but not causal, perhaps? Those poor countries don’t have sufficient money for basic needs, infrastructure, law enforcement, etc., so they may not even have money for R&D when basic human needs are not being met.


FirsToStrike t1_je53k0p wrote

The two leading countries aren't on the graph- Israel at 5.44% and South Korea at 4.81% in 2020.


JHtotheRT t1_je5io0b wrote

I don’t like that the Colours are also indicative of the y axis value, you’re basically using two seperate metrics to convey one piece of information. Perhaps if you changed the colour to correspond to the continent, it would be more useful. Or the size as a indicator of population might be nice as well.


ZesticZ t1_je4f6i6 wrote

The plateau after 1% is quite interesting, wish policymakers would delve deep into data like this.


Damas_gratis t1_je4murp wrote

Where do you find graphs / info like these? I think they're satisfying especially for Latin America! :D


dolphin37 t1_je4wtfg wrote

Being rich and war free helps people develop. Incredible


FirsToStrike t1_je53vgh wrote

Big nope for the latter part actually. The two leading countries aren't on the graph- Israel at 5.44% and South Korea at 4.81% in 2020, neither is known for their peaceful existence.


dolphin37 t1_je59xnr wrote

It was obviously a generalised comment. Even so, SK is clearly war free for all intents and purposes. Israel is a hot mess that is an exception but even there the average person can go about their lives with barely more consideration than the west had during terror attacks.


e2357 t1_je5n4a2 wrote

I think that the US and Europe have been more at war than most of Latin America during the past century, right?


dolphin37 t1_je5q1rn wrote

In places that have basically 0 effect on any of their ppl yeh. While the US and UK were at war with Iraq there was a fairly noticable war freeness in the US and UK compared to in Iraq for example.


Ishmaeal t1_je5d12y wrote

  1. I am frustrated by the legend which has proceeds up linearly from low to high, then loops down to very high at the bottom. Edit: nevermind, I’m just confused by the legend being jumbled.

  2. As others have stated, the graph doesn’t seem to demonstrate causality. Seems like if you flipped the independent and dependent variables, it might look like a function (ie, highly developed countries facilitate more R&D, versus more R&D facilitates high development)

That being said, history does point to innovations and development being the egg and highly developed nations the chicken. With that historical context in mind, maybe this graph shows raw $$$ amount spent on innovation as of today isn’t the best predictor, as shown by the massive column of low-high developed nations which seem to have no correlation with R&D and Development


Narf234 t1_je5e74f wrote

Anyone have an idea of what else is happening other than those two factors? How does Chile get better results from the same expenditure as Costa Rica or Mexico?


iluvchicken01 t1_je5xppk wrote

Chile has been (recently) more politically stable which attracts more investment into the local economy. They've also got an abundance of natural resources (#1 copper exporter) and invest heavily in education.


avonsays t1_je5zg26 wrote

How does violent intervention from the worlds most powerful militaries and harsh economic embargos factor into this chart? Wheres the dots for every coupd socialist leader, stolen precious resources eh?


mooslar t1_je4r1mj wrote

Before I read anything I thought the graph was of the east coast of the US and Canada


curlyhairlad t1_je4wqm5 wrote

The order of the legend got my brain in a pretzel 🥨


LAUSart t1_je4y5fq wrote

I had to read the title 3 times.


eddythebamba t1_je53ppr wrote

what year was this graph made and from what years does the data for it comes from?

It's 2023.. I'm pretty sure the data used in this graph is very different now, after Temer and Bolsonaro's governments. Both cut A LOT of R&D investments in areas as health, education, academic research, technology and industrialization in general.

( I'm Brazilian)


Own-Deal5242 t1_je56i2y wrote

Watch a geography documentary about LA until they have flying cars (R&D), there is little practical approach to the modernization of highway infrastructure.


Prudent-Yak4080 t1_je5786n wrote

Research alone won’t change or improve a country. There’s fundamental changes to be made that don’t need research on. I think researching can help bring countries a bit further to an extent. Sweden for example has been doing quite strong in this area for a while. They have also designed better rehabilitation prisons as they have made great progress with the fundamentals. The prison system changing wouldn’t drastically improve its HDI but through research they’ve learned how to better their communities.


Prudent-Yak4080 t1_je57dm4 wrote

Research doesn’t mean action either. I could study something my whole life, learn great amounts, even make discoveries but if I do nothing with the information there is no impact.


Monowakari t1_je5axbd wrote

That legend and my OCD are not going well together


Honmer t1_je5bisg wrote

This seems like bs to me. R&D only really helps already highly developedto eek out that last bit of progress. The problems with most of the under developed countries are much more foundational than anything else.


asj3004 t1_je5iiam wrote

I am flabbergasted by Saudi Arabia's HDI. What do they take into account? Memorizing the Quoran? The discrimination against women and minorities?


navywater t1_je5md17 wrote

It seems like r and d is a luxury that countries spend on after they have solved most of their human development issues. Its much easier to just not spend the money and still benefit from the discovery


hijodelgabo t1_je5zyz3 wrote

While this is an interesting graph (minus this disastrous key), this title is definitely misleading. You're implying causation from this correlation, but I would argue it is not quite so simple. As is usually the case, it is much more expensive to be poor than rich. LATAM countries spend more on basic infrastructure than high HDI counterparts, and the efficiency of that spending is less because of graft and lower economies of scale. While the graph seems to be arguing that rich countries get rich by spending money on research, historically it would be more accurate to say rich countries remain rich because they have money to spend on tech development.


SmashedWorm64 t1_je60ix1 wrote

I mean... I think their are other significant contributors to this


RobbinDeBank t1_je64s9g wrote

This is more data is ugly. Terrible and misleading conclusion.


Matwyen t1_je66rzl wrote

Ordem e progreso

First is clearly unreachable, they gotta try the second harder.


Heighte t1_je6d46u wrote

TIL war-torn Iraq has better HDI than India and Morocco.


mastakhan t1_je6jktw wrote

This is a good example of why I think any visualization of correlation should include the actual Pearson correlation value. I don't think the correlation here is a strong as the title makes it out to be (wouldn't be suprised if < 0.5), even setting aside concerns about whether it is spurious.


petethefreeze t1_je6jvlw wrote

Seems like there is not a lot more to gain after having spent more than 1%.


DrabberFrog t1_je70bh2 wrote

Rich countries are able to spend a lot more money on research, this isn't surprising.


Temporary-Alarm-744 t1_je73kox wrote

So Mexico spends half as much but is similarly developed to brazil? Talk about efficient


AndLD t1_je79fxu wrote

I do not fully agree. Take into account the fiscal pressure, here is the same. Another thing is that basic investigation is a waste of time if you do not have capacity of developing the possible outcomes from it. So, first develop more in what generates employment, and the current research should be only related to what generates employment and not in what generate easy papers (scientific articles). If not you end doing things that in the academic sense is good, but is of not use. You have to growth your GDP with good investment, it mean, good research too and then expand the expenses in research


yuckfoubitch t1_je8eubs wrote

R&D spending is higher for countries with higher GDP, surprise surprise


sciencesebi3 t1_je8vynm wrote

What you've found here is a confounding variable. If you'd plot individual HDI versus the number of Rolex watches owned, I'd wager you'd find two distinct clusters. Does that mean that the gouvernamnent should focus on buying people gold watches, rather than healthcare?

No. This is because people who have their basic needs met start to focus on other shit.

Please stop posting irrelevant graphs like this.


Fortheweaks t1_je98i4i wrote

Wait how can France have a lower HDI than Malta ??


AdComprehensive452 t1_je5lbm8 wrote

Well seeing as flying cars may be on the market soon we might not need new or existing roads in 30-50 years if the price and tech get better


Busterlimes t1_je5nt3e wrote

This is a little misleading. A lot of corporations fund research so they can skewe results in their favor so they pay a lot in the US. Big oil knew about climate change long before it was an issue, but the corporations buried it. Big Tobacco knew cigarettes were unhealthy, they spent a lot of money to bury it. Aaron Swarts did a lot of research on this sort of thing and it eventually cost him his life, which is unfortunate because he is possibly the greatest mind of the 21st century.