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Science, R&D, and Invention Potential Recharge: U.S. Evidence

  • Adams, James D

The influence of academic science on industrial R&D seems to have increased in recent years compared with the pre-World War II period. This paper outlines an approach to tracing this influence using a panel of 14 R&D performing industries from 1961-1986. The results indicate an elasticity between real R&D and indicators of stocks of academic science of about 0.6. This elasticity is significant controlling for industry effects. However, the elasticity declines from its level during the 1961-1973 subperiod, when it was 2.2, to 0.5 during the 1974-1986 subperiod. Reasons for the decline include exogenous and endogenous exhaustion of invention potential, and declining incentives to do R&D stemming from a weakening of intellectual property rights. The growth of R&D since the mid-1980s suggests a restoration of R&D incentives in still more recent times.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 83 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 458-62

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:83:y:1993:i:2:p:458-62
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  1. Gary S. Murphy Becker & Kevin M., 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 79, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Feenstra, Robert C & Markusen, James R & Zeile, William, 1992. "Accounting for Growth with New Inputs: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 415-21, May.
  4. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
  5. Evenson, Robert E & Kislev, Yoav, 1976. "A Stochastic Model of Applied Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 265-81, April.
  6. Kortum, Samuel, 1993. "Equilibrium R&D and the Patent-R&D Ratio: U.S. Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 450-57, May.
  7. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
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