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Innovative Slowdown, Productivity Reversal? - Estimating the Impact of R&D on Technological Change

Motivated by the recent reversal in labor productivity growth, this paper is analyzing the relationship between R&D expenditures and productivity. Time series data of the German manufacturing industry is used to estimate a variable cost function, with the stock of knowledge being modeled as a quasifix input. The estimates show that the extracted yield is non-constant over the observation period. Current rates of return on own R&D are found to be significantly lower than during the sixties, and no signs of a significant reversal are detected. The long-term elasticity of production costs with respect to R&D reduced from –0.04 to just -0.02, the elasticity of labor demand from –0.40 to -0.15. Since the growth rates of research expenditures were also declining, the contribution of R&D to productivity growth is currently stagnating at the lowest level since 1960.

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File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-augsburg.de/vwl/institut/paper/218.pdf
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Paper provided by Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 218.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aug:augsbe:0218
Contact details of provider: Postal: Universitaetsstrasse 16, D-86159 Augsburg, Germany
Phone: +49 821 598 4060
Fax: +49 821 598 4217
Web page: http://www.wiwi.uni-augsburg.de/vwl/institut
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  1. Gebhard Flaig & Horst Rottmann, 2000. "Input Demand and the Short- and Long-Run Employment Thresholds. An Empirical Analysis for the German Manufacturing Sector," CESifo Working Paper Series 264, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. William D. Nordhaus, 2002. "Productivity Growth and the New Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 211-265.
  3. Flaig, Gebhard & Steiner, Viktor, 1993. "Searching for the "Productivity Slowdown": Some Surprising Findings from West German Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(1), pages 57-65, February.
  4. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse, 1992. "Exploring the Relationship Between R&D and Productivity in French Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 3956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Popp, David C., 2001. "The effect of new technology on energy consumption," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 215-239, July.
  6. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. W. Erwin Diewert & T.J. Wales, 1989. "Flexible Functional Forms and Global Curvature Conditions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Harhoff, Dietmar, 1994. "R&D and productivity in German manufacturing firms," ZEW Discussion Papers 94-01, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Catherine J. Morrison, 1989. "Unraveling the Productivity Growth Slowdown in the U.S., Canada and Japan: The Effects of Subequilibrium, Scale Economies and Markup," NBER Working Papers 2993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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