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Reviving demand-pull perspectives: The effect of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on R&D strategy

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  • José García-Quevedo
  • Gabriele Pellegrino
  • Maria Savona

Abstract

This paper looks at the effects of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on firms’ decisions to engage in R&D activities and the amount of financial effort devoted to these. The paper provides a number of contributions to the innovation literature: first, it adds to the revived debate on demand-pull perspectives in innovation studies by examining demand-related (lack of) incentives to invest in innovation. Second, it complements the literature on barriers to innovation by focusing on demand-related obstacles rather than the more frequently explored financial barriers. Third, it analyses whether experiencing demand barriers is a sector-specific feature. Firms active in high- or low-tech manufacturing or in knowledge-intensive or low-tech services might be more or less dependent on demand conditions when deciding to perform R&D. We find that uncertain demand and lack of demand are perceived as two quite distinct barriers. While the perception of a lack of demand has a marked negative impact not only on the amount of investment in R&D but also the likelihood of firms to engage in R&D activities, demand uncertainty seems, on the contrary, to represent an incentive to spend more in R&D, although only in low-tech sectors. We interpret this evidence in terms of the specific phase of the innovation cycle in which decisions to invest in R&D are taken. Sectoral affiliation seems to be playing a role only for demand uncertainty, supporting the conjecture that positive expectations on the presence of adequate market demand are a necessary condition to invest in R&D.

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  • José García-Quevedo & Gabriele Pellegrino & Maria Savona, 2017. "Reviving demand-pull perspectives: The effect of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on R&D strategy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 1087-1122.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:41:y:2017:i:4:p:1087-1122.
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    2. Rachel Bocquet & Christian Le Bas & Caroline Mothe & Nicolas Poussing, 2017. "CSR, Innovation, and Firm Performance in Sluggish Growth Contexts: A Firm-Level Empirical Analysis," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 241-254, November.
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    5. Valeria De Bonis, 2016. "Innovation, competition and public procurement in the pre-commercial phase," Public Finance Research Papers 23, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DSGE, Sapienza University of Rome.
    6. Giovanni Marin & Alberto Marzucchi & Roberto Zoboli, 2015. "SMEs and barriers to Eco-innovation in the EU: exploring different firm profiles," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 671-705, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D strategy; Barriers to innovation; Demand uncertainty; Lack of demand; Innovative inputs; Panel data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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