Economic returns to industrial research
This paper investigates the relationship between R&D and corporate performance. The study extends previous research by examining the conditions under which firms benefit from R&D; by incorporating in the analysis the varying costs of R&D inputs; and by employing an opportunity-cost approach that estimates the monetary returns to R&D. The findings indicate that industrial research generates revenues that are significantly higher than the returns that other investments yield. The study also resolves previously conflicting results concerning firm size, and offers new insights on the role of technological opportunities that contradict past studies. Although the potential for innovation is greater in high-tech industries, intense R&D competition prevents technologically dynamic firms from enjoying high returns to R&D. By contrast, the results demonstrate that low-tech firms use R&D successfully as part of their strategies, implying that prior research underestimates the importance of R&D for these firms.
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