IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Complementarities in innovation strategy: do intangibles play a role in enhancing firm performance?


  • Dolores Añón Higón
  • Jaime Gómez
  • Pilar Vargas


This article assesses the role of investments in intangible capital and their potential complementarities as a way to improve firm productivity. We focus on the three intangible resources that, according to the literature, have the greatest strategic importance: research and development (R&D), advertising, and human capital. To test our hypotheses, we use a large sample of Spanish manufacturing firms and consider estimates of total factor productivity through a generalized method of moments approach. Our results show evidence of complementarities between R&D and advertising investments and between advertising and human capital. However, they are not conclusive in the case of R&D and human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Dolores Añón Higón & Jaime Gómez & Pilar Vargas, 2017. "Complementarities in innovation strategy: do intangibles play a role in enhancing firm performance?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press and the Associazione ICC, vol. 26(5), pages 865-886.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:26:y:2017:i:5:p:865-886.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2021. "Employer-provided training and productivity: Evidence from a panel of Japanese Firms," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    2. Cantillon, Leona & Gargan, Eric & Kren, Janez & Lawless, Martina & O'Toole, Conor, 2022. "Recent trends in SME investment in Ireland: exploring the pandemic and barriers to growth," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number SUSTAT113, September.
    3. He, Qiuqin & Guijarro-Garcia, Maria & Costa-Climent, Juan, 2022. "Impact of knowledge-based capital on firm productivity: The contingent effect of ownership," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 85-94.
    4. Siedschlag, Iulia & Di Ubaldo, Mattia, 2017. "The impact of investment in knowledge-based capital on productivity: firm-level evidence from Ireland," Papers WP556, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    5. Castellani, Davide & Piva, Mariacristina & Schubert, Torben & Vivarelli, Marco, 2019. "R&D and productivity in the US and the EU: Sectoral specificities and differences in the crisis," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 279-291.
    6. Chau Le & Bach Nguyen & Vinh Vo, 2024. "Do intangible assets help SMEs in underdeveloped markets gain access to external finance?—the case of Vietnam," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 833-855, February.
    7. Schubert, Torben & Jäger, Angela & Türkeli, Serdar & Visentin, Fabiana, 2020. "Addressing the productivity paradox with big data: A literature review and adaptation of the CDM econometric model," MERIT Working Papers 2020-050, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Rabinovich, Joel, 2023. "Tangible and intangible investments and sales growth of US firms," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 200-212.
    9. Rosa Dayanna & Rua Orlando Lima, 2020. "Relationship Marketing and Intangible Resources: The Mediating Effect of Loyalty," Review of Marketing Science, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 117-143, September.
    10. Joel Rabinovich, 2022. "The evolving contribution of R&D, advertising and capital expenditures for US-listed firms’ growth in sales, 1979-2018. A quantile regression analysis," Working Papers hal-03539656, HAL.
    11. Siedschlag, Iulia & Lawless, Martina & Di Ubaldo, Mattia, 2017. "Investment in knowledge-based capital and its contribution to productivity growth: a review of international and Irish evidence," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BKMNEXT336, September.
    12. Blind, Knut & Krieger, Bastian & Pellens, Maikel, 2022. "The interplay between product innovation, publishing, patenting and developing standards," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(7).
    13. Mattia Di Ubaldo & Iulia Siedschlag, 2021. "Investment in Knowledge‐Based Capital and Productivity: Firm‐Level Evidence from a Small Open Economy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 67(2), pages 363-393, June.
    14. Cristiano Antonelli & Gianluca Orsatti & Guido Pialli, 2023. "The knowledge-intensive direction of technological change," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 13(1), pages 1-27, March.
    15. Yulia Turovets & Konstantin Vishnevskiy & Artem Altynov, 2020. "How To Measure Ai: Trends, Challenges And Implications," HSE Working papers WP BRP 116/STI/2020, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    16. Anna Lewandowska & Herman Cherniaiev, 2022. "R&D Cooperation and Investments concerning Sustainable Business Innovation: Empirical Evidence from Polish SMEs," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(16), pages 1-16, August.

    More about this item


    O32; M21; D24;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:26:y:2017:i:5:p:865-886.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.