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Fortune favours the brave: The distribution of innovative returns in Finland, the Netherlands and the UK

  • Ebersberger, Bernd
  • Marsili, Orietta
  • Reichstein, Toke
  • Salter, Ammon

It is widely accepted that innovation may allow some industrial firms to reap great economic gains. Yet little is known about how the shape of the distribution of firm-level innovative returns differs across industries. The paper explores the general properties and sectoral differences in the distribution of share of innovative sales of manufacturing and service firms in Finland, the Netherlands and the UK. In general, the distribution is positively skewed with a long right tail. Applying a classification of industries in four broad categories, we find that the distribution exhibits significantly more skewness in sectors with low levels of technological opportunity. We explore the implications of these findings for research and theory on the economic implications of innovation.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 357-362

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Handle: RePEc:eee:streco:v:19:y:2008:i:4:p:357-362
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/525148

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  1. Silverberg, G. & Verspagen, B., 2004. "The size distribution of innovations revisited: an application of extreme value statistics to citation and value measures of patent significance," Working Papers 04.17, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
  2. F. M. Scherer & Dietmar Harhoff & J, rg Kukies, 2000. "Uncertainty and the size distribution of rewards from innovation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 175-200.
  3. Jacques Mairesse & Pierre Mohnen, 2002. "Accounting for Innovation and Measuring Innovativeness: An Illustrative Framework and an Application," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 226-230, May.
  4. Kaiser, Ulrich, 2002. "Measuring knowledge spillovers in manufacturing and services: an empirical assessment of alternative approaches," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 125-144, January.
  5. Breschi, Stefano & Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2000. "Technological Regimes and Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 388-410, April.
  6. Veugelers, Reinhilde & Cassiman, Bruno, 2004. "Foreign subsidiaries as a channel of international technology diffusion: Some direct firm level evidence from Belgium," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 455-476, April.
  7. Orietta Marsili & Ammon Salter, 2005. "'Inequality' of innovation: skewed distributions and the returns to innovation in Dutch manufacturing," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1-2), pages 83-102.
  8. Thomas Hatzichronoglou, 1997. "Revision of the High-Technology Sector and Product Classification," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 1997/2, OECD Publishing.
  9. repec:dgr:tuecis:0417 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Pavitt, Keith, 1998. "Technologies, Products and Organization in the Innovating Firm: What Adam Smith Tells Us and Joseph Schumpeter Doesn't," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 433-52, September.
  11. Alfred Kleinknecht & Kees Van Montfort & Erik Brouwer, 2002. "The Non-Trivial Choice between Innovation Indicators," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 109-121.
  12. Katz, J. Sylvan, 1999. "The self-similar science system1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 501-517, June.
  13. F. M. Scherer, 1998. "The Size Distribution of Profits from Innovation," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 49-50, pages 495-516.
  14. Scherer, F. M. & Harhoff, Dietmar, 2000. "Technology policy for a world of skew-distributed outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 559-566, April.
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