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R&D and Productivity Growth: Comparing Japanese and U.S. Manufacturing Firms

In: Productivity Growth in Japan and the United States

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  • Zvi Griliches
  • Jacques Mairesse

Abstract

We compute rates of growth in labor productivity during the 1973-80 period for samples of individual manufacturing firms, in both Japan and the U.S., and relate them to differences in the rates of growth in their capital-labor ratios and in their intensities of R&D effort. Japanese firms spent about as much of their own money on R&D, relative to sales, as did similar U.S.firms. An econometric analysis of R&D performing firms leads to the acceptance of the hypothesis that the contribution of such expenditures to productivity growth was about the same in both countries. Hence, the rather large differences on the observed rates of productivity growth between the two countries can not be accounted for by differences in either the intensity or fecundity of such expenditures. We do find two important differences between the two countries which help to explain a significant fraction of the observed differences in productivity but require in turn, an explanation of their own: 1) Japanese firms reduced their employment levels significantly during this period while US firms were increasing theirs. This, by itself, accounts for the twice as fast growth in capital-labor ratio in Japanese manufacturing. 2) The estimated effect of the growth in the capital-labor ratio on firm productivity is approximately twice as large in Japan than in the US. The two factors together can account for about half of the observed differences in the average rates of productivity growth between the two countries.
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Suggested Citation

  • Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1991. "R&D and Productivity Growth: Comparing Japanese and U.S. Manufacturing Firms," NBER Chapters, in: Productivity Growth in Japan and the United States, pages 317-348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:8452
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Comparing Productivity Growth: An Exploration of French and U.S. Industrial and Firm Data," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 157-186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity and R&D at the Firm Level," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 100-133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bronwyn H. Hall & Clint Cumminq & Elizabeth S. Laderman & Joy Mundy, 1988. "The R&D Master File Documentation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1984. "R&D, Patents, and Productivity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril84-1, January-J.
    5. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity, R&D, and Basic Research at the Firm Level in the 1970s," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 82-99, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Pierre A. Mohnen & M. Ishaq Nadiri & Ingmar R. Prucha, 1984. "R&D, Production Structure, and Productivity Growth in the U.S., Japaneseand German Manufacturing Sectors," NBER Working Papers 1264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Pakes, Ariel, 1985. "On Patents, R&D, and the Stock Market Rate of Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 390-409, April.
    8. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity Growth at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 213-240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Goto, Akira & Suzuki, Kazuyuki, 1989. "R&D Capital, Rate of Return on R&D Investment and Spillover of R&D in Japanese Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(4), pages 555-564, November.
    10. Jacques Mairesse & Philippe Cunéo, 1985. "Recherche-développement et performances des entreprises : une étude économétrique sur données individuelles," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 36(5), pages 1001-1042.
    11. John Bound & Clint Cummins & Zvi Griliches & Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam B. Jaffe, 1984. "Who Does R&D and Who Patents?," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 21-54, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Philippe Cuneo & Jacques Mairesse, 1984. "Productivity and R&D at the Firm Level in French Manufacturing," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 375-392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jacques Mairesse & Alan K. Siu, 1984. "An Extended Accelerator Model of R&D and Physical Investment," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 271-298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1984. "The Relationship between Federal Contract R&D and Company R&D," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 73-78, May.
    15. Odagiri, Hiroyuki, 1983. "R & D Expenditures, Royalty Payments, and Sales Growth in Japanese Manufacturing Corporations," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(1), pages 61-71, September.
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