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A New Approach to the Valuation of Intangible Capital

In: Measuring Capital in the New Economy

  • Jason G. Cummins

In this paper, I argue that intangible capital is not a distinct input to production like physical capital or labor but rather it is the glue that creates value from other inputs. This perspective naturally leads to an empirical model in which intangible capital is defined in terms of adjustment costs. Estimates of these adjustment costs using firm-level panel data suggest that there are no appreciable intangibles associated with R&D and advertising whereas information technology creates intangibles with a 70% annual rate of return a sizable figure that is nevertheless much smaller than reported in previous studies. As a bridge to previous research, I show that much larger estimates can be obtained by using ordinary least squares, which ignores the possibility that the value of the .rm and its investment policy are simultaneously determined. Larger estimates can also be obtained by ignoring the possibility that the stock market overstates the value of intangible-intensive companies.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Dan Sichel, 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number corr05-1, 07.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10618.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10618
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Bernstein, Jeffrey I & Nadiri, M Ishaq, 1989. "Research and Development and Intra-industry Spillovers: An Empirical Application of Dynamic Duality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 249-67, April.
    2. Bronwyn H. Hall., 1993. "Industrial Research During the 1980s: Did the Rate of Return Fall?," Economics Working Papers 93-217, University of California at Berkeley.
    3. Stephen R. Bond & Jason G. Cummins, 2000. "The Stock Market and Investment in the New Economy: Some Tangible Facts and Intangible Fictions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 61-124.
    4. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
    5. Jerry Hausman, 2001. "Mismeasured Variables in Econometric Analysis: Problems from the Right and Problems from the Left," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 57-67, Fall.
    6. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    7. Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Robert E. Hall, 2000. "The stock market and capital accumulation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Apr.
    9. Erik Brynjolfsson & Loren Hitt & Shinkyu Yang, 2002. "Intangible Assets: How the Interaction of Computers and Organizational Structure Affects Stock Market Valuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(1), pages 137-198.
    10. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2000. "Is the stock market overvalued?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 20-40.
    11. Leonard Nakamura, 1999. "Intangibles: what put the new in the new economy?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jul, pages 3-16.
    12. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    13. Michael T. Kiley, 2000. "Stock prices and fundamentals in a production economy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-05, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    14. Mark E. Doms & Wendy E. Dunn & Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2004. "How fast do personal computers depreciate? concepts and new estimates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Martin Neil Baily, 1981. "Productivity and the Services of Capital and Labor," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 1-66.
    16. Prescott, Edward C & Visscher, Michael, 1980. "Organization Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 446-61, June.
    17. Stephen Bond, 2000. "Noisy Share Prices and the Q Model of Investment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1320, Econometric Society.
    18. 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, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376, February.
    19. Zvi Griliches, 1979. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 92-116, Spring.
    20. Hempell, Thomas, 2003. "Do Computers Call for Training? Firm-level Evidence on Complementarities Between ICT and Human Capital Investments," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-20, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    21. Fumio Hayashi & Tohru Inoue, 1990. "The Relation Between Firm Growth and Q with Multiple Capital Goods: Theory and Evidence from Panel Data on Japanese Firms," NBER Working Papers 3326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Richard Blundell & Stephen Bond, 2000. "GMM Estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 321-340.
    23. Jacques Mairesse & Bronwyn H. Hall, 1996. "Estimating the Productivity of Research and Development: An Exploration of GMM Methods Using Data on French & United States Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 5501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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