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R&D and Productivity in German Manufacturing Firms


  • Dietmar Harhoff


This papcr uses a new firm panel data set to explore the relationship between R&D and productivity in German manufacturing firms for the period from 1979 to 1989. The results confirm the view that K&D is an important determinant of productivity growth. In the cross-section, the elasticity of sales with respect to R&D capital is on the order of 14 per cent. Using fixed-effects estimators yields R&D elasticities of about 8 per cent. Assuming different depreciation rates for R&D capital has virtually no effect on these results. Differencing estimates improve considerably when growth rates are computed over longer time periods, suggesting that the divergence between time-series and cross-sectional estimates is driven by random measurement errors. The paper also considers differences between high technology and other firms. Cross-section and panel elasticity estimates of the R&D effect diverge considerably for the two groups, while the corresponding rate of return estimators display far less variation. There is some evidence that the R&D elasticity increased during the early 1980s, and that it fell sharply back to its 1979 value during the period from 1985 to 1989.

Suggested Citation

  • Dietmar Harhoff, 1998. "R&D and Productivity in German Manufacturing Firms," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 29-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:6:y:1998:i:1:p:29-50 DOI: 10.1080/10438599800000012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-361, July-Aug..
    2. Jacques Mairesse & Mohamed Sassenou, 1991. "R&D Productivity: A Survey of Econometric Studies at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 3666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques, 1995. "Exploring the relationship between R&D and productivity in French manufacturing firms," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 263-293, January.
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