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Regulation and Firm Size: FDA Impacts on Innovation


  • Lacy Glenn Thomas


This article estimates the highly differential impacts of FDA regulations on pharmaceutical firms of various sizes (where size is measured as scale of R&D expenditures). Estimation is performed using the method of maximum quasi-likelihoods, using productivity trends of the United Kingdom as a control to isolate FDA regulatory effects in the United States. It is shown that smaller U.S. pharmaceutical firms suffered devastating reductions in research productivity because of FDA regulations. In contrast, the largest U.S. pharmaceutical firms apparently benefited from regulation, as sales gains due to reduced competition more than offset their quite moderate declines in research productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lacy Glenn Thomas, 1990. "Regulation and Firm Size: FDA Impacts on Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 497-517, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:21:y:1990:i:winter:p:497-517

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Benvignati, Anita M, 1982. "Interfirm Adoption of Capital-Goods Innovations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(2), pages 330-335, May.
    2. V. Kerry Smith, 1974. "The Implications of Regulation for Induced Technical Change," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(2), pages 623-632, Autumn.
    3. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-1266, September.
    4. Stoneman, P L, 1985. "Technological Diffusion : The Viewpoint of Economic Theory," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 270, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abbott, Thomas III, 1995. "Price regulation in the pharmaceutical industry: Prescription or placebo?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 551-565, December.
    2. Michail Batikas & Jörg Claussen & Christian Peukert, 2018. "Follow The Money: Online Piracy and Self-Regulation in the Advertising Industry," CESifo Working Paper Series 6852, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Keith A. Houghton & Michael Kend & Christine Jubb, 2013. "The CLERP 9 Audit Reforms: Benefits and Costs Through the Eyes of Regulators, Standard Setters and Audit Service Suppliers," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 49(2), pages 139-160, June.
    4. Albuquerque, Ana, 2009. "Peer firms in relative performance evaluation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 69-89, October.
    5. Ariel Pakes & Paul McGuire, 1994. "Computing Markov-Perfect Nash Equilibria: Numerical Implications of a Dynamic Differentiated Product Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(4), pages 555-589, Winter.
    6. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1998. "Stronger protection or technological revolution: what is behind the recent surge in patenting?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 247-304, June.
    7. F. M. Scherer, 1993. "Pricing, Profits, and Technological Progress in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 97-115, Summer.
    8. Ollinger, Michael & Moore, Danna L. & Chandran, Ram, 2004. "Meat And Poultry Plants' Food Safety Investments: Survey Findings," Technical Bulletins 33559, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    9. Bruce L. Benson, 2015. "Regulation As a Barrier to Market Provision and to Innovation: The Case of Toll Roads and Steam Carriages in England," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 30(Spring 20), pages 61-87.
    10. Stern, Ariel Dora, 2017. "Innovation under regulatory uncertainty: Evidence from medical technology," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 181-200.
    11. repec:kap:regeco:v:52:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11149-017-9343-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Cockburn Iain M. & Stern Scott, 2010. "Finding the Endless Frontier: Lessons from the Life Sciences Innovation System for Technology Policy," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-50, July.
    13. Christine Moorman & Rex Du & Carl F. Mela, 2005. "The Effect of Standardized Information on Firm Survival and Marketing Strategies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(2), pages 263-274, September.
    14. Michael Ollinger & Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo, 1994. "Regulation and Firm Size, Foreign-Based Company Market Presence, Merger Choice In The U.S. Pesticide Industry," Working Papers 94-6, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    15. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
    16. Koh, Wei Chern, 2011. "What drives firms' decisions to lobby and determinants of their lobbying positions: Evidence from firms' comment letter submissions during FASB's stock option expensing proposal in 2004," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-24, March.
    17. Ollinger, Michael & Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, 1998. "Sunk costs and regulation in the U.S. pesticide industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 139-168, March.
    18. Peter Calcagno & Russell Sobel, 2014. "Regulatory costs on entrepreneurship and establishment employment size," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 541-559, March.
    19. Wendy Chapple & Andrew Cooke & Vaughan Galt & David Paton, 2001. "The determinants of voluntary investment decisions," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(8), pages 453-463.
    20. Lerner, Josh, 1995. "Patenting in the Shadow of Competitors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 463-495, October.

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