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Under what conditions do firms benefit from the research efforts of other organizations?

  • Kafouros, Mario I.
  • Buckley, Peter J.
Registered author(s):

    Although R&D spillovers play a key role in the battle for technological leadership, it is unclear under what conditions firms build on and benefit from the discoveries of others. The study described here empirically examines this issue. The findings indicate that, depending on technological opportunities, firm size and competitive pressure, the net impact of R&D spillovers on productivity can be either positive or negative. Specifically, we find that although spillover effects are positively associated with the technological opportunities that a firm faces, this relationship is reversed when firm size is considered. Whilst external R&D affects large self-reliant firms negatively, its impact on the productivity of smaller firms (who usually introduce incremental innovations that are characterized by a strong reliance on external technologies) is positive, and even higher than that of their own R&D. We also demonstrate that the economic payoff for firms' own R&D is lower when they face intense competition. In cases of low-appropriability, however, spillover effects are more positive, allowing firms to increase their performance using the inventions of others.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V77-4RR82W8-1/1/50a76044a2f57b66a982b05e6731d8f4
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 225-239

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:37:y:2008:i:2:p:225-239
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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    1. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2003. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 793-808, November.
    2. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1984. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Patents, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 73-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jürgen Bitzer & Ingo Geishecker, 2005. "What Drives Trade-related R&D Spillovers? Decomposing Knowledge- diffusing Trade Flows," International Trade 0512010, EconWPA.
    5. Harris, Christopher & Howitt, Peter & Vickers, John & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Scholarly Articles 12375013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521293853 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Liu, Xiaohui & Buck, Trevor, 2007. "Innovation performance and channels for international technology spillovers: Evidence from Chinese high-tech industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 355-366, April.
    8. Greenhalgh, Christine & Rogers, Mark, 2006. "The value of innovation: The interaction of competition, R&D and IP," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 562-580, May.
    9. Zvi Griliches, 1979. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 92-116, Spring.
    10. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques, 1995. "Exploring the relationship between R&D and productivity in French manufacturing firms," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 263-293, January.
    11. Aghion, Philippe, et al, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 467-92, July.
    12. Raut, Lakshmi K., 1995. "R & D spillover and productivity growth: Evidence from Indian private firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 1-23, October.
    13. Paul Stoneman & Otto Toivanen, 2001. "The Impact of Revised Recommended Accounting Practices on R&D Reporting by UK Firms," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 123-136.
    14. Scherer, F M, 1982. "Inter-Industry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 627-34, November.
    15. James D. Adams & Adam B. Jaffe, 1996. "Bounding the Effects of R&D: An Investigation Using Matched Establishment-Firm Data," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(4), pages 700-721, Winter.
    16. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
    17. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Returns to Research and Development Expenditures in the Private Sector," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 49-81 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Jeffrey I. Bernstein, 1988. "Costs of Production, Intra- and Interindustry R&D Spillovers: Canadian Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(2), pages 324-47, May.
    19. McGahan, Anita M. & Silverman, Brian S., 2006. "Profiting from technological innovation by others: The effect of competitor patenting on firm value," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1222-1242, October.
    20. Michele Cincera & Henri Capron, 2000. "Technological Performance," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/147109, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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