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Persistence of profits and the systematic search for knowledge - R&D links to firm above-norm profits

  • Eklund, Johan

    ()

    (Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) and CESIS)

  • Wiberg, Daniel

    ()

    (Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) and CESIS)

Economic theory tells us that abnormal firm and industry profits will not persist for any significant length of time. Any firm or industry making profits in excess of the normal rate of return will attract entrants and this competitive process will erode profits. However, a substantial amount of research has found evidence of persistent profits above the norm. Barriers to entry and exit, is an often put forward explanation to this anomaly. In the absence of, or with low barriers to entry and exit, this reasoning provides little help in explaining why these above-norm profits arise and persist. In this paper we explore the links between the systematic search for knowledge and the persistence of profits. By investing in research and development firms may succeed in creating products or services that are preferred by the market and/or find a more cost efficient method of production. Corporations that systematically invest in research and development may, by doing this, offset the erosion of profits and thereby have persistently high profits which diverge from the competitive return.We argue that even in the absence of significant barriers to entry and exit profits may persist. This can be accredited to a systematic search for knowledge through research and development.

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Paper provided by Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies in its series Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation with number 85.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 13 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:cesisp:0085
Contact details of provider: Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 790 95 63
Web page: http://www.infra.kth.se/cesis/

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  1. Winter, Sidney G., 1984. "Schumpeterian competition in alternative technological regimes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 287-320.
  2. Dennis C. Mueller & John E. Tilton, 1969. "Research and Development Costs as a Barrier to Entry," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 2(4), pages 570-579, November.
  3. Glen, Jack & Lee, Kevin & Singh, Ajit, 2001. "Persistence of profitability and competition in emerging markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 247-253, August.
  4. Zvi Griliches, 1984. "R&D, Patents, and Productivity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril84-1, 07.
  5. Geroski, Paul A & Jacquemin, Alexis, 1988. "The Persistence of Profits: A European Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 375-89, June.
  6. B. Burcin Yurtoglu, 2004. "Persistence of firm-level profitability in Turkey," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 615-625.
  7. Yamawaki, Hideki, 1989. "A Comparative Analysis of Intertemporal Behavior of Profits: Japan and the United States," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 389-409, June.
  8. Goddard, J. A. & Wilson, J. O. S., 1999. "The persistence of profit: a new empirical interpretation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 663-687, July.
  9. Schwalbach, Joachim & Gra[beta]hoff, Ulrike & Mahmood, Talat, 1989. "The dynamics of corporate profits," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1625-1639, October.
  10. Mueller, Dennis C, 1977. "The Persistence of Profits above the Norm," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(176), pages 369-80, November.
  11. Waring, Geoffrey F, 1996. "Industry Differences in the Persistence of Firm-Specific Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1253-65, December.
  12. Schohl, Frank, 1990. "Persistence of profits in the long run: A critical extension of some recent findings," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 385-404, September.
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