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The size, concentration and evolution of corporate R&D spending in U.S. firms from 1976 to 2010: Evidence and implications

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  • Hirschey, Mark
  • Skiba, Hilla
  • Wintoki, M. Babajide
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    Abstract

    The use of research and development (R&D) spending as an empirical proxy for managerial discretion, information asymmetry and growth opportunities, is pervasive in empirical corporate finance research. Underlying this is the implicit assumption that firms choose levels of R&D to maximize value, given firm and industry characteristics. An alternative framework views the level of R&D spending as subject to idiosyncratic behavior as managers myopically manipulate R&D expenditures to meet short-term earnings goals. Using aggregate firm and industry level data, we find evidence consistent with the view that R&D is determined by firm and industry characteristics. Time invariant firm and industry fixed effects explain most of the cross-sectional variation in observed R&D spending, while time-varying factors like size, profitability, or market-to-book explain little of the cross-sectional variation. We find that R&D spending continues to grow faster than advertising and capital expenditures. We also find no evidence of managerial myopia as corporate aggregate R&D expenditures are growing faster than aggregate profitability and the number of firms that undertake R&D has increased over the period from 1976 to 2010.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Corporate Finance.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 496-518

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:18:y:2012:i:3:p:496-518

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jcorpfin

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    Keywords: Research and development; Information asymmetry; Corporate profit;

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    1. Faleye, Olubunmi, 2007. "Classified boards, firm value, and managerial entrenchment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 501-529, February.
    2. Jeffry Netter & Mike Stegemoller & M. Babajide Wintoki, 2011. "Implications of Data Screens on Merger and Acquisition Analysis: A Large Sample Study of Mergers and Acquisitions from 1992 to 2009," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(7), pages 2316-2357.
    3. Elliott, William B. & Koeter-Kant, Johanna & Warr, Richard S., 2007. "A valuation-based test of market timing," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 112-128, March.
    4. Lundstrum, Leonard L., 2002. "Corporate investment myopia: a horserace of the theories," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 353-371, October.
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    6. Michael L. Lemmon & Michael R. Roberts & Jaime F. Zender, 2008. "Back to the Beginning: Persistence and the Cross-Section of Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1575-1608, 08.
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    8. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Skinner, Douglas J., 2004. "Are dividends disappearing? Dividend concentration and the consolidation of earnings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 425-456, June.
    9. Chaoshin Chiao, 2002. "Relationship between debt, R&D and physical investment, evidence from US firm-level data," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 105-121.
    10. Wahal, Sunil & McConnell, John J., 2000. "Do institutional investors exacerbate managerial myopia?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 307-329, September.
    11. Keith W. Chauvin & Mark Hirschey, 1997. "Market structure and the value of growth," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 247-254.
    12. Wintoki, M. Babajide, 2007. "Corporate boards and regulation: The effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the exchange listing requirements on firm value," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 229-250, June.
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