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Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth

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  • Zvi Griliches

Abstract

This article outlines the production function approach to the estimation of the returns to R&D and then proceeds to discuss in turn two very difficult problems: the measurement of output in R&D intensive industries and the definition and measurement of the stock R&D "capital." The latter concept leads to a discussion of modeling of the spillover effects of R&D and to suggestions for possible measurement of such effects via the concept of technological distance between firms and industries. Somewhat more familiar econometric problems (multicollinearity and simultaneity) are taken up in the next section and another section is devoted to estimation and inference problems arising more specifically in the R&D context. Several recent studies of returns to R&D are then surveyed, and the paper concludes with a plea for a lowering of expectations as to what the available data can tell us and with suggestions for ways of expanding the current data base in this field.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:10:y:1979:i:spring:p:92-116
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    1. Nelson, Richard R & Winter, Sidney G, 1974. "Neoclassical vs. Evolutionary Theories of Economic Growth: Critique and Prospectus," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(336), pages 886-905, December.
    2. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
    3. Zvi Griliches, 1984. "R&D, Patents, and Productivity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril84-1.
    4. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    5. Edwin Mansfield & John Rapoport & Anthony Romeo & Samuel Wagner & George Beardsley, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-240.
    6. 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.
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