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Does private equity investment spur innovation? Evidence from Europe

  • Popov, Alexander
  • Roosenboom, Peter

We provide the first cross-country evidence of the effect of investment by private equity firms on innovation, focusing on a sample of European countries and using Kortum and Lerner’s (2000) empirical methodology. Using an 18-country panel covering the period 1991-2004, we study how private equity finance affects patent applications and patent grants. We address concerns about causality in several ways, including exploiting variation in laws regulating the investment behaviour of pension funds and insurance companies across countries and over time. We also control for the standard determinants of innovation like R&D, human capital, and patent protection. Our estimates imply that while private equity investment accounts for 8% of aggregate (private equity plus R&D) industrial spending, PE accounts for as much as 12% of industrial innovation. We also present similar evidence from the biotech industry to alleviate concerns that our results are biased by aggregation. JEL Classification: C23, G15, O16

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1063.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091063
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  1. Da Rin, Marco & Nicodano, Giovanna & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2006. "Public policy and the creation of active venture capital markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1699-1723, September.
  2. Sunil Kanwar & Robert E Evanson, 2004. "Does Intellectual Property Protection Spur Technological Change?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000455, David K. Levine.
  3. 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.
  4. Keilbach, Max & Engel, Dirk, 2002. "Firm Level Implications of Early Stage Venture Capital Investment: An Empirical Investigation," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-82, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Zvi Griliches, 1979. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 92-116, Spring.
  6. Ulku, Hulya, 2005. "R&D, Innovation and Growth: Evidence from Four Manufacturing Sectors in OECD Countries," Development Economics and Public Policy Working Papers 30542, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
  7. Josh Lerner & Morten Sorensen & Per Strömberg, 2011. "Private Equity and Long‐Run Investment: The Case of Innovation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 445-477, 04.
  8. Furman, Jeffrey L. & Porter, Michael E. & Stern, Scott, 2002. "The determinants of national innovative capacity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 899-933, August.
  9. Paul A. Gompers & Josh Lerner, 1999. "What Drives Venture Capital Fundraising?," NBER Working Papers 6906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hellmann, Thomas & Puri, Manju, 2000. "The Interaction between Product Market and Financing Strategy: The Role of Venture Capital," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(4), pages 959-84.
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