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R&D and Non-linear Productivity Growth of Heterogeneous Firms

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The present paper studies the relationship between R&D investment and firm productivity growth by explicitly accounting for non-linearities in the R&D-productivity relationship and inter-sectoral firm heterogeneity. In order to address these issues, we employ a two step estimation approach, and match two firm-level panel data sets for the OECD countries, which allows us to relax both the linearity and homogeneity assumptions of the canonical Griliches (1979) knowledge capital model. Our results suggest that: (i) R&D investment increases firm productivity with an average elasticity of 0.15; (ii) the impact of R&D investment on firm productivity is differential at different levels of R&D intensity – the productivity elasticity ranges from -0.02 for low levels of R&D intensity to 0.33 for high levels of R&D intensity; (iii) the relationship between R&D expenditures and productivity growth is non-linear, and only after a certain critical mass of R&D is reached, the productivity growth is significantly positive; (iv) there are important inter-sectoral differences with respect to R&D investment and firm productivity - high-tech sectors' firms not only invest more in R&D, but also achieve more in terms of productivity gains connected with research activities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 12-315.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:12-315

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Keywords: R&D investment; firm productivity; generalised propensity score;

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  1. Dietmar Harhoff, 1998. "R&D and Productivity in German Manufacturing Firms," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 29-50.
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