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Learning, internal research, and spillovers

  • James Adams

This paper presents new evidence on the practice of industrial Research and Development (R&D), especially its allocation between learning and internal research, and the role of outside knowledge in reshaping this allocation. The evidence describes the sources of outside knowledge, portrays the flow of that knowledge into firms, and interprets the channels by which outside knowledge influences R&D. In this way, the paper illustrates R&D's value in dealing with disequilibria. The empirical work is based on a sample of 220 R&D laboratories owned by 115 firms in the US chemical, machinery, electrical equipment, and motor vehicle industries. The findings are consistent with the view that universities and firms generate technological opportunities in R&D laboratories. In addition to partnerships that define rather strict channels of opportunity, the paper uncovers broader effects of R&D spillovers. The results also suggest that academic spillovers drive learning about universities and that industrial spillovers drive learning about industries. Thus, externally derived opportunities reshape the rate and direction of R&D. Overall the findings paint an image of practitioners of industrial R&D reaching aggressively for opportunities rather than waiting for opportunities to come to them.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Economics of Innovation and New Technology.

Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 5-36

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:15:y:2006:i:1:p:5-36
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  1. James D. Adams & Adam B. Jaffe, 1996. "Bounding the Effects of R&D: An Investigation Using Matched Establishment-Firm Data," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(4), pages 700-721, Winter.
  2. James D. Adams, 2002. "Comparative localization of academic and industrial spillovers," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 253-278, July.
  3. Richard Nelson, 1962. "The Link Between Science and Invention: The Case of the Transistor," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 549-584 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1973. "Transcendental Logarithmic Production Frontiers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(1), pages 28-45, February.
  6. John L. Enos, 1962. "Invention and Innovation in the Petroleum Refining Industry," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 299-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
  8. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1992. "General Purpose Technologies "Engines of Growth?"," NBER Working Papers 4148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cohen, Wesley M & Klepper, Steven, 1992. "The Anatomy of Industry R&D Intensity Distributions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 773-99, September.
  10. William W. Gould & Jeffrey Pitblado & Brian Poi, 2010. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation with Stata," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 4, number ml4, November.
  11. Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard C. Levin & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1993. "On the Sources and Significance of Interindustry Differences in Technological Opportunities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1052, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  12. James D. Adams & Mircea Marcu, 2004. "R&D Sourcing, Joint Ventures and Innovation: A Multiple Indicators Approach," NBER Working Papers 10474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  14. Mansfield, Edwin, 1985. "How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 217-23, December.
  15. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  16. Mansfield, Edwin, 1995. "Academic Research Underlying Industrial Innovations:," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 55-65, February.
  17. Mansfield, Edwin & Romeo, Anthony & Switzer, Lorne, 1983. "R&D price indexes and real R&D expenditures in the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 105-112, April.
  18. Donald S. Siegel & Catherine J. Morrison Paul, 1999. "Scale Economies and Industry Agglomeration Externalities: A Dynamic Cost Function Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 272-290, March.
  19. James D. Adams, 1999. "The Structure Of Firm R&D, The Factor Intensity Of Production, And Skill Bias," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 499-510, August.
  20. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
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