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Why Do Some Firms Undertake R&D Whereas Others Do Not?

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  • Richard Harris
  • Mary Trainor

Abstract

Data for the UK show Northern Ireland remains at the bottom of the productivity leaguetable, and that its R&D performance is consistently amongst the lowest across the UKregions. This paper analyses the data from a survey of some 250 matched firms operating inNorthern Ireland (approximately half undertaking R&D and half not), in order to provide amore detailed analysis of attitudes to undertaking R&D in the Province. We consider a rangeof factors that determine whether R&D takes place (such as absorptive capacity, marketorientation, business objectives, and competitive advantages). Conditional on whether R&Doccurs, the analysis then looks at, firstly, the determinants of the R&D capital stock andintensity; before concentrating on those firms who undertook no R&D and analysing whichfactors might make them likely to engage in such activities in the future. Policy conclusionsare then drawn as to what might be done to boost both the amount of R&D undertaken andthe number of firms engaged in R&D in the Province.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Harris & Mary Trainor, 2009. "Why Do Some Firms Undertake R&D Whereas Others Do Not?," SERC Discussion Papers 0020, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0020
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J. Peter, 2007. "Absorptive capacity, R&D spillovers, and public policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 1089-1108, October.
    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.
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    4. James D. Adams & Eric P. Chiang & Jeffrey L. Jensen, 2003. "The Influence of Federal Laboratory R&D on Industrial Research," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1003-1020, November.
    5. Sunil Kanwar & Robert Evenson, 2003. "Does intellectual property protection spur technological change?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(2), pages 235-264, April.
    6. Jacques Mairesse & Pierre Mohnen, 2005. "The Importance of R&D for Innovation: A Reassessment Using French Survey Data," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 30(2_2), pages 183-197, January.
    7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    8. Holmes, James M & Hutton, Patricia A & Weber, Edward, 1991. "A Functional-Form-Free Test of the Research and Development/Firm Size Relationship," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(1), pages 85-90, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D; regional policy; matching;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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