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The employment effects of innovation


  • Alex Coad

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Max Planck Institute of Economics - Evolutionary Economics Group)

  • Rekha Rao

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics - Evolutionary Economics Group)


The issue of technological unemployment receives perennial popular attention. Although there are previous empirical investigations that have focused on the relationship between innovation and employment, the originality of our approach lies in our choice of method. We focus on four 2-digit manufacturing industries that are known for their high patenting activity. We then use Principal Components Analysis to generate a firm-and year-specific "innovativeness" index by extracting the common variance in a firm's patenting and R&D expenditure histories. To begin with, we explore the heterogeneity of firms by using semi-parametric quantile regression. Whilst some firms may reduce employment levels after innovating, others increase employment. We then move on to a weighted least squares (WLS) analysis, which explicitly takes into account the different job-creating potential of firms of different sizes. As a result, we focus on the effect of innovation on total number of jobs, whereas previous studies have focused on the effect of innovation on firm behavior. Indeed, previous studies have typically taken the firm as the unit of analysis, implicity weighting each firm equally according to the principle of "one firm equals one observation". Our results suggest that firm-level innovative activity leads to employment creation that may have been underestimated in previous studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Coad & Rekha Rao, 2007. "The employment effects of innovation," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00175042, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00175042
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    quantile regression; Technological unemployment; innovation; firm growth; Weighted Least Squares; aggregation; quantile regression.; Chômage technologique; croissance des firmes; régression par quantile.;

    JEL classification:

    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General


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