Comparing firms' triadic patent applications across countries: Is there a gap in terms of R&D effort or a gap in terms of performances?
This paper addresses the question of national differences as regard the number of triadic patents applied for by inventors from several OECD countries. The key idea is to determine whether such differences should be attributed to differences in R&D expenditures or rather to some other reasons, mainly institutional or behavioural ones. With this aim in view, both a macro-economic analysis, based on aggregate data for triadic patent counts and R&D expenditures and a micro-economic analysis based on firms' data from three selected sectors are performed. In both cases, the methodological focus is made on the introduction, the definition and the estimation of a national index of relative efficiency in standard count data models. The main empirical findings are that there is a strong heterogeneity in terms of performance among European countries and a strong intra-country heterogeneity among sectors. This suggests that, in the field of innovation policies, there is a need for “tailored” solutions reflecting the specificities of each innovation system. Moreover, we show that European countries over-perform the United States in some high-tech sectors where the leadership of American firms is traditionally alleged, whereas European firms fail to keep up in more traditional sectors.
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