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A simple theory and evidence on the determinants of firm R&D

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  • Chang-Yang Lee

Abstract

This paper derives a simple, but informative, model of firm R&D to figure out key factors that determine firm R&D effort. The model suggests a demand-pull, technology-push theory of R&D by showing that a firm's profit-maximizing R&D expenditure is determined jointly by both demand-side factors and technology-side factors. The former includes demand size (firm sales) and consumer preference over quality and price and the latter includes R&D cost structure or the production-cost effect of product R&D and firm-specific technological competence. In addition, the model shows that other things being equal, the stock of exogenous technological knowledge, including the firm's previously accumulated technological knowledge, relevant to current R&D which is negatively related with current R&D effort. An empirical analysis of firm R&D intensities and technological capabilities of more than 1600 firms in nine industries across six countries provides supportive evidence for the theory. Further, the theory implies that R&D intensity or the R&D-to-sales ratio is independent of firm size unless firm size affects technological competence and that given consumer preference and R&D cost structure facing all firms in the same industry, the distribution of firm-specific technological competence among firms determines the distribution of firm R&D intensities within the industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang-Yang Lee, 2003. "A simple theory and evidence on the determinants of firm R&D," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(5), pages 385-395.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:12:y:2003:i:5:p:385-395
    DOI: 10.1080/1043859022000003418
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Goldman, M. & Ergas, H. & Ralph, E. & Felker, G., 1997. "Technology Institutions and Policies. Their Role in Developing Technological Capability in Industry," Papers 383, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    2. Jaffe, Adam B, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
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    5. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Levin, Richard C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1995. "On the sources and significance of interindustry differences in technological opportunities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 185-205, March.
    6. Mowery, David & Rosenberg, Nathan, 1993. "The influence of market demand upon innovation: A critical review of some recent empirical studies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 107-108, April.
    7. Cohen, Wesley M & Klepper, Steven, 1992. "The Anatomy of Industry R&D Intensity Distributions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 773-799, September.
    8. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-596, September.
    9. Kamien,Morton I. & Schwartz,Nancy L., 1982. "Market Structure and Innovation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521293853, May.
    10. Scherer, F M, 1982. "Demand-Pull and Technological Invention: Schmookler Revisited," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 225-237, March.
    11. Chang-Yang Lee, 2002. "A simple model of R&D: An extension of the Dorfman-Steiner theorem," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(7), pages 449-452.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Eric C., 2010. "Determinants of R&D investment: The Extreme-Bounds-Analysis approach applied to 26 OECD countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 103-116, February.
    2. Kun-Ming Chen & Shu-Fei Yang, 2013. "Impact of Outward Foreign Direct Investment on Domestic R&D Activity: Evidence from Taiwan's Multinational Enterprises in Low-wage Countries," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 17-38, March.
    3. Alexander Eickelpasch, 2014. "R&D Behavior of German Manufacturing Companies during the 2008/09 Recession," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1357, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Liliana Meza González & Ana Belén Mora Yague, 2005. "Trade and Private R&D in Mexico," Economía Mexicana NUEVA ÉPOCA, , vol. 0(2), pages 157-183, July-Dece.
    5. Boris Lokshin & René Belderbos & Martin Carree, 2008. "The Productivity Effects of Internal and External R&D: Evidence from a Dynamic Panel Data Model," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(3), pages 399-413, June.
    6. Juana Sanchez, 2014. "Innovation Output Choices And Characteristics Of Firms In The U.S," Working Papers 14-42, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Feng, Ping & Ke, Shanzi, 2016. "Self-selection and performance of R&D input of heterogeneous firms: Evidence from China's manufacturing industries," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 181-195.
    8. Youngjung Geum & Hongseok Jeon & Hakyeon Lee, 2016. "Developing new smart services using integrated morphological analysis: integration of the market-pull and technology-push approach," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 10(3), pages 531-555, September.
    9. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:9:p:1570-1579 is not listed on IDEAS

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