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The Innovation and Imitation Dichotomy in Spanish firms: do absorptive capacity and the technological frontier matter?

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  • Gombau, Verònica
  • Segarra Blasco, Agustí
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    Abstract

    This paper analyses whether a firm’s absorptive capacity and its distance from the technological frontier affect the choice between innovation and imitation in innovative Spanish firms. From an extensive survey of 5,575 firms during the 2004-2009 period, we found two significant results. With regard to the role of absorptive capacity, the empirical evidence shows that when innovative firms have difficulties in accessing external information and hire skilled workers, their innovative capacity is reduced. Meanwhile, with regard to distance from the technological frontier, the firms that reduce this gap manage to increase their innovative capacity at the expense of imitation. To summarise, when we studied firms’ absorptive capacity and their relative position to the technological frontier in tandem, we found that the two factors directly affected firms' ability to innovate or imitate. Key words: R&D sources, innovation and imitation strategies, absorptive capacity, technological frontier, ordered probit.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2072/179666.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:urv:wpaper:2072/179666

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    Keywords: Empreses -- Innovacions tecnològiques -- Espanya; 33 - Economia; 65 - Gestió i organització. Administració i direcció d'empreses. Publicitat. Relacions públiques. Mitjans de comunicació de masses;

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    1. Anker Lund Vinding, 2006. "Absorptive capacity and innovative performance: A human capital approach," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4-5), pages 507-517.
    2. Alex Coad, 2008. "Distance to Frontier and Appropriate Business Strategy," DRUID Working Papers 08-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques & Mohnen, Pierre, 2010. "Measuring the Returns to R&D," MERIT Working Papers 006, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
    5. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Chapter 11 Technological change and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 461-516 Elsevier.
    6. Arbussa, Anna & Coenders, Germa, 2007. "Innovation activities, use of appropriation instruments and absorptive capacity: Evidence from Spanish firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1545-1558, December.
    7. Bruno Cassiman & Reinhilde Veugelers, 2000. "External technology sources: Embodied or disembodied technology acquisition," Economics Working Papers 444, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    8. Mairesse,Jacques & Mohnen,Pierre, 2004. "The Importance of R&D for Innovation: A Reassessment Using French Survey Data," Research Memorandum 022, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    9. Mohnen, Pierre & Schim van der Loeff, S. & Palm, Franz & Raymond, Wladimir, 2006. "Persistence of Innovation in Dutch Manufacturing: Is it Spurious?," MERIT Working Papers 011, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    10. Douglas Bowman & Hubert Gatignon, 1996. "Order of Entry as a Moderator of the Effect of the Marketing Mix on Market Share," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 15(3), pages 222-242.
    11. Hans Loof & Almas Heshmati, 2006. "On the relationship between innovation and performance: A sensitivity analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4-5), pages 317-344.
    12. Polterovich, Victor & Tonis, Alexander, 2005. "Innovation and Imitation at Various Stages of Development: A Model with Capital," MPRA Paper 20067, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Jérôme Vandenbussche & Philippe Aghion & Costas Meghir, 2006. "Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 97-127, June.
    14. Glen L. Urban & Theresa Carter & Steven Gaskin & Zofia Mucha, 1986. "Market Share Rewards to Pioneering Brands: An Empirical Analysis and Strategic Implications," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(6), pages 645-659, June.
    15. Arora, Ashish & Gambardella, Alfonso, 1994. "The changing technology of technological change: general and abstract knowledge and the division of innovative labour," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 523-532, September.
    16. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
    17. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1990. "Why do firms do basic research (with their own money)?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 165-174, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Balatsky, Ye., 2012. "Technological Diffusion and Investment Decision," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 10-34.

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