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Evidence on the impact of R&D and ICT investments on innovation and productivity in Italian firms

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  • Bronwyn H. Hall
  • Francesca Lotti
  • Jacques Mairesse

Abstract

Both research and development (R&D) and information and communication technology (ICT) investment have been identified as sources of relative innovation underperformance in Europe vis-à-vis the USA. In this article, we investigate the R&D and ICT investment at the firm level in an effort to assess their relative importance and to what extent they are complements or substitutes. We use data on a large unbalanced panel data sample of Italian manufacturing firms constructed from four consecutive waves of a survey of manufacturing firms, to estimate a version of the CDM model of R&D, innovation, and productivity [Crépon--Duguet--Mairesse 1998. Research, innovation and productivity: An econometric analysis at the firm level. Economics of Innovation and New Technology 7, no. 2: 115--58] that has been modified to include ICT investment and R&D as the two main inputs into innovation and productivity. We find that R&D and ICT are both strongly associated with innovation and productivity, with R&D being more important for innovation, and ICT investment being more important for productivity. For the median firm, rates of return to both investments are so high that they suggest considerably underinvestment in both these activities. We explore the possible complementarity between R&D and ICT in innovation and production, but find none, although we do find complementarity between R&D and worker skill in innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bronwyn H. Hall & Francesca Lotti & Jacques Mairesse, 2013. "Evidence on the impact of R&D and ICT investments on innovation and productivity in Italian firms," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 300-328, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:22:y:2013:i:3:p:300-328
    DOI: 10.1080/10438599.2012.708134
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Crepon, B. & Duguet, E. & Mairesse, J., 1998. "Research Investment, Innovation and Productivity: An Econometric Analysis at the Firm Level," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 98.15, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    2. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2006. "Calculation of multivariate normal probabilities by simulation, with applications to maximum simulated likelihood estimation," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(2), pages 156-189, June.
    3. Bronwyn Hall & Francesca Lotti & Jacques Mairesse, 2009. "Innovation and productivity in SMEs: empirical evidence for Italy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 13-33, June.
    4. Nathalie Greenana & Jacques Mairesse, 2000. "Computers And Productivity In France: Some Evidence," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 275-315.
    5. Jacques Mairesse, 2008. "Employment, innovation, and productivity: evidence from Italian microdata," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 813-839, August.
    6. Bart van Ark & Robert Inklaar & Robert H. McGuckin, 2003. "ICT and Productivity in Europe and the United States Where Do the Differences Come From?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(3), pages 295-318.
    7. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
    8. Rachel Griffith & Elena Huergo & Jacques Mairesse & Bettina Peters, 2006. "Innovation and Productivity Across Four European Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(4), pages 483-498, Winter.
    9. Cequera, Daniel & Klein, Gordon J., 2008. "Endogenous Firm Heterogeneity, ICT and R&D Incentives," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-126, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    10. Bruno Crepon & Emmanuel Duguet & Jacques Mairesse, 1998. "Research, Innovation And Productivity: An Econometric Analysis At The Firm Level," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 115-158.
    11. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Lerner, Josh, 2010. "The Financing of R&D and Innovation," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    12. Jacques Mairesse & Nathalie Greenan & Agnes Topiol-Bensaid, 2001. "Information Technology and Research and Development Impacts on Productivity and Skills: Looking for Correlations on French Firm Level Data," NBER Working Papers 8075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
    14. Polder, Michael & Leeuwen, George van & Mohnen, Pierre & Raymond, Wladimir, 2009. "Productivity effects of innovation modes," MPRA Paper 18893, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Matteo Bugamelli & Patrizio Pagano, 2004. "Barriers to investment in ICT," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(20), pages 2275-2286.
    16. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2003. "Multivariate probit regression using simulated maximum likelihood," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(3), pages 278-294, September.
    17. repec:crs:wpaper:9833 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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