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A Portrait of Firms that Invest in R&D

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  • Lucia Foster
  • Cheryl Grim
  • Nikolas Zolas

Abstract

We focus on the evolution and behavior of firms that invest in research and development (R&D). We build upon the cross-sectional analysis in Foster and Grim (2010) that identified the characteristics of top R&D spending firms and follow up by charting the behavior of these firms over time. Our focus is dynamic in nature as we merge micro-level cross-sectional data from the Survey of Industrial Research and Development (SIRD) and the Business Research & Development and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) with the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD). The result is a panel firm-level data set from 1992 to 2011 that tracks firms’ performances as they enter and exit the R&D surveys. Using R&D expenditures to proxy R&D performance, we find the top R&D performing firms in the U.S. across all years to be large, old, multinational enterprises. However, we also find that the composition of R&D performing firms is gradually shifting more towards smaller domestic firms with expenditures being less sensitive to scale effects. We find a high degree of persistence for these firms over time. We chart the history of R&D performing firms and compare them to all firms in the economy and find substantial differences in terms of age, size, firm structure and international activity; these differences persist when looking at future firm outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & Nikolas Zolas, 2016. "A Portrait of Firms that Invest in R&D," Working Papers 16-41, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:16-41
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2016/CES-WP-16-41.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-690, September.
    3. William Kerr & Ufuk Akcigit & Nicholas Bloom & Daron Acemoglu, 2012. "Innovation, Reallocation and Growth," 2012 Meeting Papers 1137, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    6. Kaiser, Ulrich, 2002. "An empirical test of models explaining research expenditures and research cooperation: evidence for the German service sector," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 747-774, June.
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    8. Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim, 2010. "Characteristics of the Top R&D Performing Firms in the U.S.: Evidence from the Survey of Industrial R&D," Working Papers 10-33, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Ana M. Fernandes & Caroline Paunov, 2015. "The Risks of Innovation: Are Innovating Firms Less Likely to Die?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 638-653, July.
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    11. J M Haworth & P J Vincent, 1979. "The stochastic disturbance specification and its implications for log-linear regression," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 11(7), pages 781-790, July.
    12. Ron S Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2002. "The Longitudinal Business Database," Working Papers 02-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juana Sanchez & Sydney Noelle Kahmann, 2017. "R&D, Attrition and Multiple Imputation in BRDIS," Working Papers 17-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Nathan Goldschlag & Elisabeth Perlman, 2017. "Business Dynamic Statistics of Innovative Firms," Working Papers 17-72, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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