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Research and Development as an Investment

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  • Bronwyn H. Hall and Fumio Hayashi.

Abstract

About 20 percent of the gross investment expenditures of U.S. manufacturing firms is expenditures on research and development. Like investment in physical capital, R&D also responds to news about future prospects of the firm, such as profitability, technological opportunities, or changes in factor prices. Using data from a panel of large U.S. manufacturing firms that was developed within the Productivity Program of the NBER, we investigate the differential responses of these two types of investment to changes in the value of the firm's assets as perceived by financial markets and the interaction of these responses. In order to study this topic empirically, we develop a stochastic dynamic programming model of a firm with two types of capital (physical and knowledge capital) which are used to produce profits. A feature of the model is the distinction between the accumulation of the two kinds of capital: expenditures on the physical capital stock are incurred one or more years before the capital actually becomes productive, whereas R&D capital is produced jointly as a function of current expenditure and the past technological position of the firm. Two individual firm specific shocks are considered: one to the overall profitability of the firm, and one to the "productivity" of R&D. In the empirical estimates, we find that these two shocks account for about 20 percent of the total variance in net investment, 15 percent of the variance in the firm-level R&D to capital ratio, but only about 5 percent of the annual rates of return. The profitability shock is well described by a moving average process of order three, while the technology shock process is more nearly permanent: first order autoregressive with parameter near unity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Economics Working Papers with number 89-108.

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Date of creation: 01 May 1989
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Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:89-108

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Postal: University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA USA
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Web page: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/iber/wps/econwp.html
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References

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  1. Pakes, Ariel, 1985. "On Patents, R & D, and the Stock Market Rate of Return," Scholarly Articles 3436409, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 2343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Griliches, Zvi, 1981. "Market value, R&D, and patents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 183-187.
  4. Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Patents and R&D: Is There A Lag?," NBER Working Papers 1454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ariel Pakes & Zvi Griliches, 1982. "Estimating Distributed Lags in Short Panels with an Application to the Specification of Depreciation Patterns and Capital Stock Constructs," NBER Working Papers 0933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-24, January.
  7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  8. Epstein, Larry G & Denny, Michael G S, 1983. "The Multivariate Flexible Accelerator Model: Its Empirical Restrictions and an Application to U.S. Manufacturing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 647-74, May.
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