IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_6370.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Firm-level Human Capital and Innovation: Evidence from China

Author

Listed:
  • Xiuli Sun
  • Haizheng Li
  • Vivek Ghosal

Abstract

Understanding the factors that may produce a sustained rate of innovation is important for promoting economic development and growth. In this paper, we examine the role of human capital in firms’ innovation by using a large sample of manufacturing firms from China. We use two firm-level datasets from China: one from metropolitan cities, and one from provincial small and medium sized cities. Patent applications are used as the measure of innovation. Human capital indicators used include skilled human capital (number of highly educated workers), general manager’s education and tenure, and management team’s education and age. We find that skilled human capital has a significant positive effect on firms’ innovation, while the management team’s age has a significant negative effect on innovation. The General Manager’s tenure plays a significant positive role in firm innovation in metropolitan cities, while it is the General Manager’s education that has a positive and significant effect on firms’ innovation in small and middle cities. We also find that the effect of R&D on patents is insignificant for firms in large cities, but it is positive and significant in the smaller and medium sized cities. We conclude by noting some policy issues for promoting innovation in developing economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiuli Sun & Haizheng Li & Vivek Ghosal, 2017. "Firm-level Human Capital and Innovation: Evidence from China," CESifo Working Paper Series 6370, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6370
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6370.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Aamir Hashmi, 2007. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Dynamic Analysis of the Global Automobile Industry," 2007 Meeting Papers 362, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Coad, Alex & Segarra, Agustí & Teruel, Mercedes, 2016. "Innovation and firm growth: Does firm age play a role?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 387-400.
    3. Ufuk Akcigit & William R. Kerr, 2018. "Growth through Heterogeneous Innovations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1374-1443.
    4. 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.
    5. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
    6. Bosetti, Valentina & Cattaneo, Cristina & Verdolini, Elena, 2015. "Migration of skilled workers and innovation: A European Perspective," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 311-322.
    7. Sterlacchini, Alessandro, 1999. "Do innovative activities matter to small firms in non-R&D-intensive industries? An application to export performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 819-832, November.
    8. Lutz Schneider & Jutta Gunther & Bianca Brandenburg, 2010. "Innovation and skills from a sectoral perspective: a linked employer-employee analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 185-202.
    9. Nicola Gennaioli & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Human Capital and Regional Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 105-164.
    10. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    11. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    12. De Marchi, Valentina, 2012. "Environmental innovation and R&D cooperation: Empirical evidence from Spanish manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 614-623.
    13. Fonseca, Tiago & de Faria, Pedro & Lima, Francisco, 2019. "Human capital and innovation: the importance of the optimal organizational task structure," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 616-627.
    14. Guo, Di & Guo, Yan & Jiang, Kun, 2016. "Government-subsidized R&D and firm innovation: Evidence from China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 1129-1144.
    15. Kianto, Aino & Sáenz, Josune & Aramburu, Nekane, 2017. "Knowledge-based human resource management practices, intellectual capital and innovation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 11-20.
    16. Colombo, Massimo G. & Grilli, Luca, 2005. "Founders' human capital and the growth of new technology-based firms: A competence-based view," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 795-816, August.
    17. Vincent L. Barker , III & George C. Mueller, 2002. "CEO Characteristics and Firm R&D Spending," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(6), pages 782-801, June.
    18. Raymond, Wladimir & Mairesse, Jacques & Mohnen, Pierre & Palm, Franz, 2015. "Dynamic models of R & D, innovation and productivity: Panel data evidence for Dutch and French manufacturing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 285-306.
    19. Henry Sauermann & Wesley M. Cohen, 2010. "What Makes Them Tick? Employee Motives and Firm Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(12), pages 2134-2153, December.
    20. Ghosal, Vivek & Nair-Reichert, Usha, 2009. "Investments in modernization, innovation and gains in productivity: Evidence from firms in the global paper industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 536-547, April.
    21. Cameron, Gavin & Proudman, James & Redding, Stephen, 2005. "Technological convergence, R&D, trade and productivity growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 775-807, April.
    22. James S. Ang & Yingmei Cheng & Chaopeng Wu, 2014. "Does Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Matter in China? Evidence from Financing and Investment Choices in the High-Tech Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 332-348, May.
    23. Aamir Rafique Hashmi & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2016. "The Relationship between Market Structure and Innovation in Industry Equilibrium: A Case Study of the Global Automobile Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 192-208, March.
    24. Mathias Thoenig & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "A Theory of Defensive Skill-Biased Innovation and Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 709-728, June.
    25. Dang, Jianwei & Motohashi, Kazuyuki, 2015. "Patent statistics: A good indicator for innovation in China? Patent subsidy program impacts on patent quality," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 137-155.
    26. Cull, Robert & Li, Wei & Sun, Bo & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2015. "Government connections and financial constraints: Evidence from a large representative sample of Chinese firms," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 271-294.
    27. Rupietta, Christian & Backes-Gellner, Uschi, 2019. "Combining knowledge stock and knowledge flow to generate superior incremental innovation performance — Evidence from Swiss manufacturing," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 209-222.
    28. Grimpe, Christoph & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2009. "Search patterns and absorptive capacity: Low- and high-technology sectors in European countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 495-506, April.
    29. Ayyagari, Meghana & Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2011. "Firm Innovation in Emerging Markets: The Role of Finance, Governance, and Competition," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(6), pages 1545-1580, December.
    30. Kafouros, Mario & Wang, Chengqi & Piperopoulos, Panagiotis & Zhang, Mingshen, 2015. "Academic collaborations and firm innovation performance in China: The role of region-specific institutions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 803-817.
    31. Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-938, July.
    32. Vivek Ghosal, 2015. "Business Strategy and Firm Reorganization: Role of Changing Environmental Standards, Sustainable Business Initiatives and Global Market Conditions," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 123-144, February.
    33. Hu, Albert Guangzhou & Jefferson, Gary H., 2009. "A great wall of patents: What is behind China's recent patent explosion?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 57-68, September.
    34. Lee, Jaegul & Veloso, Francisco M. & Hounshell, David A., 2011. "Linking induced technological change, and environmental regulation: Evidence from patenting in the U.S. auto industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1240-1252.
    35. repec:cup:jfinqa:v:46:y:2011:i:06:p:1545-1580_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    36. Pakes, Ariel & Griliches, Zvi, 1980. "Patents and R&D at the firm level: A first report," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 377-381.
    37. Audretsch, David B. & Feldman, Maryann P., 2004. "Knowledge spillovers and the geography of innovation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 61, pages 2713-2739, Elsevier.
    38. McGuirk, Helen & Lenihan, Helena & Hart, Mark, 2015. "Measuring the impact of innovative human capital on small firms’ propensity to innovate," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 965-976.
    39. Ning, Lutao & Wang, Fan & Li, Jian, 2016. "Urban innovation, regional externalities of foreign direct investment and industrial agglomeration: Evidence from Chinese cities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 830-843.
    40. repec:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2012:i:1:p:105-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    41. Samuel Kortum & Josh Lerner, 2000. "Assessing the Contribution of Venture Capital to Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 674-692, Winter.
    42. Santamara, Llus & Nieto, Mara Jess & Barge-Gil, Andrs, 2009. "Beyond formal R&D: Taking advantage of other sources of innovation in low- and medium-technology industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 507-517, April.
    43. Zhang, Anming & Zhang, Yimin & Zhao, Ronald, 2003. "A study of the R&D efficiency and productivity of Chinese firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 444-464, September.
    44. Valentina Bosetti & Cristina Cattaneo & Elena Verdolini, 2012. "Migration, Cultural Diversity and Innovation: A European Perspective," Working Papers 469, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    45. García, Francisco & Jin, Byungchae & Salomon, Robert, 2013. "Does inward foreign direct investment improve the innovative performance of local firms?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 231-244.
    46. Sunder, Jayanthi & Sunder, Shyam V. & Zhang, Jingjing, 2017. "Pilot CEOs and corporate innovation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 209-224.
    47. Fleisher, Belton M. & Hu, Yifan & Li, Haizheng & Kim, Seonghoon, 2011. "Economic transition, higher education and worker productivity in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 86-94, January.
    48. Hall, Bronwyn H & Ziedonis, Rosemarie Ham, 2001. "The Patent Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Study of Patenting in the U.S. Semiconductor Industry, 1979-1995," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 101-128, Spring.
    49. Todtling, Franz & Trippl, Michaela, 2005. "One size fits all?: Towards a differentiated regional innovation policy approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1203-1219, October.
    50. Goñi, Edwin & Maloney, William F., 2017. "Why don’t poor countries do R&D? Varying rates of factor returns across the development process," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 126-147.
    51. Hsiu-Fen Lin, 2007. "Knowledge sharing and firm innovation capability: an empirical study," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 28(3/4), pages 315-332, June.
    52. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Kraft, Kornelius, 2004. "An empirical test of the asymmetric models on innovative activity: who invests more into R&D, the incumbent or the challenger?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 153-173, June.
    53. Mark Rogers, 2004. "Networks, Firm Size and Innovation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 141-153, March.
    54. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2015. "Control Function Methods in Applied Econometrics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 420-445.
    55. Hsiu-Fen Lin, 2007. "Knowledge sharing and firm innovation capability: an empirical study," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 28(1), pages 315 - 332, April.
    56. Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & John van Reenen, 1999. "Market Share, Market Value and Innovation in a Panel of British Manufacturing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 529-554.
    57. Bates, Timothy, 1990. "Entrepreneur Human Capital Inputs and Small Business Longevity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 551-559, November.
    58. Hu, Albert G.Z. & Zhang, Peng & Zhao, Lijing, 2017. "China as number one? Evidence from China's most recent patenting surge," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 107-119.
    59. King, Timothy & Srivastav, Abhishek & Williams, Jonathan, 2016. "What's in an education? Implications of CEO education for bank performance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 287-308.
    60. Chen, Shouming & Bu, Miao & Wu, Sibin & Liang, Xin, 2015. "How does TMT attention to innovation of Chinese firms influence firm innovation activities? A study on the moderating role of corporate governance," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1127-1135.
    61. Lin, Chen & Lin, Ping & Song, Frank M. & Li, Chuntao, 2011. "Managerial incentives, CEO characteristics and corporate innovation in China's private sector," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 176-190, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sakchai Naknok, 2021. "Effect of Fiscal Policy on Human Capital in Thailand," International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), vol. 0(1), pages 136-158.
    2. Adamu Jibir & Musa Abdu, 0. "Human Capital and Propensity to Protect Intellectual Properties as Innovation Output: the Case of Nigerian Manufacturing and Service Firms," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 0, pages 1-25.
    3. Adamu Jibir & Musa Abdu, 2021. "Human Capital and Propensity to Protect Intellectual Properties as Innovation Output: the Case of Nigerian Manufacturing and Service Firms," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 12(2), pages 595-619, June.
    4. Zhang, Xiaobei & Wang, Xiaojun, 2021. "Measures of human capital and the mechanics of economic growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    5. Zhu, Xuehong & Zuo, Xuguang & Li, Hailing, 2021. "The dual effects of heterogeneous environmental regulation on the technological innovation of Chinese steel enterprises—Based on a high-dimensional fixed effects model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tian, Guangning & Zhou, Shuyuan & Hsu, Sara, 2020. "Executive financial literacy and firm innovation in China," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    2. Jiang, Xiandeng & Kong, Dongming & Xiao, Chengrui, 2020. "Policy certainty and heterogeneous firm innovation: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    3. Qing Li & Long Hai Vo, 2021. "Intangible Capital and Innovation: An Empirical Analysis of Vietnamese Enterprises," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 21-02, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    4. Drivas, Kyriakos & Economidou, Claire & Karamanis, Dimitrios & Sanders, Mark, 2020. "Mobility of highly skilled individuals and local innovation activity," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).
    5. James A. Brander & Wei Zhang, 2017. "Employee relations and innovation: an empirical analysis using patent data," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 368-384, May.
    6. Fang, Jing & He, Hui & Li, Nan, 2020. "China's rising IQ (Innovation Quotient) and growth: Firm-level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    7. de Rassenfosse, Gaétan & Schoen, Anja & Wastyn, Annelies, 2014. "Selection bias in innovation studies: A simple test," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 287-299.
    8. Ornella Wanda Maietta & Fernanda Mazzotta, 2018. "Firm Survival and Innovation: Knowledge Context Matters!," CSEF Working Papers 496, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    9. Castelnovo, Paolo & Florio, Massimo & Forte, Stefano & Rossi, Lucio & Sirtori, Emanuela, 2018. "The economic impact of technological procurement for large-scale research infrastructures: Evidence from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(9), pages 1853-1867.
    10. Ren, Shenggang & Cheng, Yingmei & Hu, Yucai & Yin, Chao, 2021. "Feeling right at home: Hometown CEOs and firm innovation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    11. Liu, Hao, 2019. "The communication and European Regional economic growth: The interactive fixed effects approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 299-311.
    12. Ufuk Akcigit & William R. Kerr, 2018. "Growth through Heterogeneous Innovations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1374-1443.
    13. Wang, Yuandi & Ning, Lutao & Prevezer, Martha, 2015. "Technological diversification in China from 1986 to 2011: Evidence from patent data," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 54-66.
    14. Dechezlepretre, Antoine & Perkins, Richard & Neumayer, Eric, 2012. "Regulatory Distance and the Transfer of New Environmentally Sound Technologies: Evidence from the Automobile Sector," Climate Change and Sustainable Development 128199, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    15. Shi, Xing & Wu, Yanrui & Fu, Dahai, 2020. "Does University-Industry collaboration improve innovation efficiency? Evidence from Chinese Firms⋄," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 39-53.
    16. Daron Acemoglu & Ufuk Akcigit & Harun Alp & Nicholas Bloom & William Kerr, 2018. "Innovation, Reallocation, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(11), pages 3450-3491, November.
    17. Aistleitner, Matthias & Gräbner, Claudius & Hornykewycz, Anna, 2021. "Theory and empirics of capability accumulation: Implications for macroeconomic modeling," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(6).
    18. Huvaj, M. Nesij & Johnson, William C., 2019. "Organizational complexity and innovation portfolio decisions: Evidence from a quasi-natural experiment," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 153-165.
    19. Jose Maria Millan & Emilio Congregado & Concepcion Roman & Mirjam van Praag & Andre van Stel, 2011. "The Value of an Educated Population for an Individual's Entrepreneurship Success," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-066/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 06 May 2014.
    20. Rong, Zhao & Wu, Xiaokai & Boeing, Philipp, 2017. "The effect of institutional ownership on firm innovation: Evidence from Chinese listed firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1533-1551.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; education; innovation; patents; R&D; economic development; Asia; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:ces:ceswps:_6370. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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.