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On the Relationship between R&D and Productivity: a Treatment Effect Analysis

  • Giuseppe Medda

    (University of Cagliari)

  • Claudio Piga

    (University of Nottingham Business School)

  • Donald Siegel

    (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY)

This study uses firm level data from two detailed surveys of Italian manufacturing firms to study the relationship between R&D expenditures and productivity growth. The analysis considers the different contributions of various forms of R&D (product, process, internal, external in collaboration with universities, research centres and other firms) to Total Factor Productivity (TFP). Thus, this paper answers the call for more research on the links between a firm’s external R&D and its productivity. In the cross-section econometric analysis, we estimate a Treatment Effects model based on the assumption that the decision to carry out R&D is endogenous. We found evidence supporting such a methodological approach. The main restlts reveal a positive and statistically significant relationship between the detailed measures of R&D and TFP. It is noteworthy that among external R&D investments, only expenditures for projects run in collaboration with other firms turn out to be highly significant, while cooperation in R&D with universities does not seem to lead to productivity enhancements. Because of the public good nature of research, firms may resort to do R&D within laboratories run by universities only when the outcome of the research does not have important strategic consequences.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2003.34.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2003.34
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  1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  2. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1991. "Comparing Productivity Growth: An Exploration of French and U.S. Industrial and Firm Data," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 45-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Claudio Piga, 2002. "Debt and Firms' Relationships: The Italian Evidence," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 267-282, May.
  4. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
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  10. Zvi Griliches, 1980. "Returns to Research and Development Expenditures in the Private Sector," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Measurement, pages 419-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Morrison Paul, Catherine J., 2002. "Supply and demand-driven spillovers and productivity growth," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 285-304, August.
  12. C. Piga & M. Vivarelli, 2003. "Sample selection in estimating the determinants of cooperative R&D," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 243-246.
  13. Griliches, Zvi, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
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  15. Link, Albert N, 1981. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing: Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1111-12, December.
  16. Lööf, Hans & Heshmati, Almas, 2000. "Knowledge Capital and Performance Heterogeneity: A Firm Level Innovation Study," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 387, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 14 Aug 2000.
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  18. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  19. Veugelers, Reinhilde, 1997. "Internal R & D expenditures and external technology sourcing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-315, October.
  20. Donald Siegel, 1997. "The Impact Of Computers On Manufacturing Productivity Growth: A Multiple-Indicators, Multiple-Causes Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 68-78, February.
  21. M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques, 1995. "Exploring the relationship between R&D and productivity in French manufacturing firms," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 263-293, January.
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  25. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  26. Kamien, Morton I. & Zang, Israel, 2000. "Meet me halfway: research joint ventures and absorptive capacity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 995-1012, October.
  27. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Freeman, C., 1991. "Networks of innovators: A synthesis of research issues," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 499-514, October.
  29. Lichtenberg, Frank R & Siegel, Donald, 1991. "The Impact of R&D Investment on Productivity--New Evidence Using Linked R&D-LRD Data," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 203-29, April.
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