Learning through experience in Research & Development: an empirical analysis with Spanish firms
In this paper we analyse the role of learning through experience in Research and Development (R&D) activities in strengthening firms’ capabilities to achieve innovation outcomes. Using a production function approach, we estimate a count-data model using a panel dataset of Spanish manufacturing firms for the period 1990-2006. We find that the number of years of engagement in R&D activities is positively associated with the achievement of product innovations. Our results highlight that experience in R&D is an additional technological asset to be considered for a good management practice. In particular our findings indicate that the relationship between firms’ R&D experience and product innovations is non-linear, that is, that experience has a positive effect on the probability to achieve product innovations, but at a decreasing rate. In addition, our results suggest that, although large firms are more efficient than SMEs in converting R&D investment into product innovations, SMEs obtain more efficiency gains from R&D experience than large firms.
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