IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Determinants of Pharmaceutical Innovation: The Role of Technological Opportunities Revisited


  • Bastian Rake


Recent empirical contributions emphasize the importance of (potential) market size for the development of new pharmaceuticals. At the same time many scholars point out the importance of of scientific advances for the industry’s R&D activities. Against this background I analyze the relationship between (potential) market size, technological opportunities, and the number of new pharmaceuticals in the United States. Technological opportunities are operationalized as growth rates of the relevant knowledge stock as proposed by Andersen (1999, 1998). I analyze a unique dataset by using an “entry stock” Poisson quasi-maximum likelihood estimator. The results reveal a rather robust and significantly positive response of the number of new pharmaceuticals, i.e., new molecular entities or new drug approvals, to market size and technological opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Bastian Rake, 2013. "Determinants of Pharmaceutical Innovation: The Role of Technological Opportunities Revisited," DRUID Working Papers 13-03, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:13-03

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jurgen Bitzer & Andreas Stephan, 2007. "A Schumpeter-inspired approach to the construction of R&D capital stocks," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 179-189.
    2. Ron Adner & Daniel Levinthal, 2001. "Demand Heterogeneity and Technology Evolution: Implications for Product and Process Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 611-628, May.
    3. Blundell, Richard & Griffith, Rachel & Van Reenen, John, 1995. "Dynamic Count Data Models of Technological Innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 333-344, March.
    4. Narin, Francis & Rozek, Richard P., 1988. "Bibliometric analysis of U.S. pharmaceutical industry research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 139-154, June.
    5. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2013. "Regression Analysis of Count Data," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107667273, March.
    6. Galambos, Louis & Sturchio, Jeffrey L., 1998. "Pharmaceutical Firms and the Transition to Biotechnology: A Study in Strategic Innovation," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 250-278, June.
    7. Fulvio Castellacci, 2007. "Technological regimes and sectoral differences in productivity growth ," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(6), pages 1105-1145, December.
    8. Henderson, Rebecca. & Cockburn, Iain., 1994. "Measuring competence? : exploring firm effects in pharmaceutical research," Working papers 3712-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    9. Richard R. Nelson, 1988. "Modelling the Connections in the Cross Section between Technical Progress and R&D Intensity," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 478-485, Autumn.
    10. Narin, Francis & Olivastro, Dominic, 1992. "Status report: Linkage between technology and science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 237-249, June.
    11. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain & Trognon, Alain, 1984. "Pseudo Maximum Likelihood Methods: Applications to Poisson Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 701-720, May.
    12. Giaccotto, Carmelo & Santerre, Rexford E & Vernon, John A, 2005. "Drug Prices and Research and Development Investment Behavior in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 195-214, April.
    13. Henry Grabowski & John Vernon, 2000. "The determinants of pharmaceutical research and development expenditures," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 201-215.
    14. Nelson, Richard R. & Wolff, Edward N., 1997. "Factors behind cross-industry differences in technical progress," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 205-220, June.
    15. Grabowski, Henry G & Vernon, John M & Thomas, Lacy Glenn, 1978. "Estimating the Effects of Regulation on Innovation: An International Comparative Analysis of the Pharmaceutical Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 133-163, April.
    16. Birgitte Andersen, 1999. "The hunt for S-shaped growth paths in technological innovation: a patent study," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 487-526.
    17. Wei Pan, 2001. "Akaike's Information Criterion in Generalized Estimating Equations," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 57(1), pages 120-125, March.
    18. Jörg Mahlich & Thomas Roediger-Schluga, 2006. "The Determinants of Pharmaceutical R&D Expenditures: Evidence from Japan," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 28(2), pages 145-164, March.
    19. Lichtenberg, Frank R., 2004. "Sources of U.S. longevity increase, 1960-2001," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 369-389, July.
    20. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Linn, 2004. "Market Size in Innovation: Theory and Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1049-1090.
    21. Jaffe, Adam B, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits, and Market Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 984-1001, December.
    22. Walsh, Vivien, 1984. "Invention and innovation in the chemical industry: Demand-pull or discovery-push?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 211-234, August.
    23. Freeman, Chris, 1994. "The Economics of Technical Change," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(5), pages 463-514, October.
    24. Kleinknecht, Alfred & Verspagen, Bart, 1990. "Demand and innovation: Schmookler re-examined," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 387-394, August.
    25. Michael Kremer, 2002. "Pharmaceuticals and the Developing World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 67-90, Fall.
    26. Yin, Wesley, 2008. "Market incentives and pharmaceutical innovation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1060-1077, July.
    27. Franco Malerba & Richard Nelson & Luigi Orsenigo & Sidney Winter, 2007. "Demand, innovation, and the dynamics of market structure: The role of experimental users and diverse preferences," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 371-399, August.
    28. Mansfield, Edwin, 1991. "Academic research and industrial innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-12, February.
    29. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    30. Blundell, Richard & Griffith, Rachel & Windmeijer, Frank, 2002. "Individual effects and dynamics in count data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 113-131, May.
    31. Lim, Kwanghui, 2004. "The relationship between research and innovation in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries (1981-1997)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 287-321, March.
    32. von Hippel, Eric, 1976. "The dominant role of users in the scientific instrument innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 212-239, July.
    33. Wolfgang Becker & Juergen Peters, 2000. "Technological Opportunities, Absorptive Capacities, and Innovation," Discussion Paper Series 195, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
    34. Pierre Azoulay, 2004. "Capturing Knowledge within and across Firm Boundaries: Evidence from Clinical Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1591-1612, December.
    35. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-596, September.
    36. David Reiffen & Michael R. Ward, 2005. "Generic Drug Industry Dynamics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 37-49, February.
    37. Rodrigo Cerda, 2007. "Endogenous innovations in the pharmaceutical industry," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 473-515, August.
    38. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3, Specia), pages 783-832.
    39. Cohen, Wesley M. & Levin, Richard C., 1989. "Empirical studies of innovation and market structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 18, pages 1059-1107 Elsevier.
    40. Jaffe, Adam B., 1989. "Characterizing the "technological position" of firms, with application to quantifying technological opportunity and research spillovers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 87-97, April.
    41. Toole, Andrew A, 2007. "Does Public Scientific Research Complement Private Investment in Research and Development in the Pharmaceutical Industry?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 81-104, February.
    42. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Levin, Richard C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1995. "On the sources and significance of interindustry differences in technological opportunities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 185-205, March.
    43. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2002. "Links and Impacts: The Influence of Public Research on Industrial R&D," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 1-23, January.
    44. Godin, Benoit, 1996. "Research and the practice of publication in industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 587-606, June.
    45. Scherer, F M, 1982. "Demand-Pull and Technological Invention: Schmookler Revisited," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 225-237, March.
    46. Geroski, P A & Walters, C F, 1995. "Innovative Activity over the Business Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 916-928, July.
    47. Mowery, David & Rosenberg, Nathan, 1993. "The influence of market demand upon innovation: A critical review of some recent empirical studies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 107-108, April.
    48. Toole, Andrew A., 2012. "The impact of public basic research on industrial innovation: Evidence from the pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-12.
    49. Cockburn, Iain M. & Henderson, Rebecca M., 2001. "Scale and scope in drug development: unpacking the advantages of size in pharmaceutical research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 1033-1057, November.
    50. Henry G. Grabowski, 1968. "The Determinants of Industrial Research and Development: A Study of the Chemical, Drug, and Petroleum Industries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 292-292.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Determinants of Innovation; Pharmaceuticals; Demand; Technological Opportunities;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:13-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keld Laursen). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.