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Reviving demand-pull perspectives: the effect of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on R&D strategy

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  • José García-Quevedo

    (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

  • Gabriele Pellegrino

    (University of Barcelona & IEB)

  • Maria Savona

    (University of Sussex)

Abstract

This paper looks at the effects of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on firms’ decisions to engage in R&D activities and the amount of financial effort devoted to it. The paper contributes to the innovation literature in three respects: first, it adds to the revived debate on demand-pull perspectives in innovation studies, by specifically looking at demand-related (lack of) incentives to invest in innovation. Also, importantly, it complements the emerging literature on barriers to innovation in a two-fold way: first, by focusing on demand-related obstacles rather than the more explored financial barriers; second, by analyzing in detail whether experiencing uncertainty or lack of demand is a sector-specific feature, namely whether firms active in high or low tech manufacturing or in knowledge intensive or low tech services are more or less dependent on demand conditions when deciding to perform R&D. We find that uncertain demand and lack of demand are perceived as two completely different barriers. While uncertainty on demand does not seem to constrain R&D efforts, the perception of lack of demand does strongly reduce not only the amount of investment in R&D but also the likelihood of firms to engage in R&D activities. We interpret this evidence in terms of the specific phase of the innovation cycle in which decisions to invest in R&D are taken. Sectoral affiliation does not seem to matter when it relates to demand conditions, supporting the conjecture that positive expectations on market demand is a structural and necessary condition to be fulfilled for all firms prior to invest in R&D.

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  • José García-Quevedo & Gabriele Pellegrino & Maria Savona, 2014. "Reviving demand-pull perspectives: the effect of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on R&D strategy," Working Papers 2014/11, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:doc2014-11
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    3. Cirera,Xavier & Vargas Da Cruz,Marcio Jose & Grover,Arti Goswami & Iacovone,Leonardo & Medvedev,Denis & Pereira Lopez,Mariana De La Paz & Reyes,Santiago, 2021. "Firm Recovery during COVID-19 : Six Stylized Facts," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9810, The World Bank.
    4. Ortiz, Rodrigo & Fernandez, Viviana, 2022. "Business perception of obstacles to innovate: Evidence from Chile with pseudo-panel data analysis," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C).
    5. Krieger, Bastian & Zipperer, Vera, 2022. "Does green public procurement trigger environmental innovations?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(6).
    6. Rachel Bocquet & Christian Le Bas & Caroline Mothe & Nicolas Poussing, 2017. "CSR, Innovation, and Firm Performance in Sluggish Growth Contexts: A Firm-Level Empirical Analysis," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 241-254, November.
    7. Pellegrino, Gabriele & Savona, Maria, 2017. "No money, no honey? Financial versus knowledge and demand constraints on innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 510-521.
    8. Heijs, Joost & Guerrero, Alex J. & Huergo, Elena, 2020. "Matching methods for impact evaluation of public subsidies to business R&D: Measuring heterogeneous effects," MPRA Paper 103874, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Jasny, Johannes & Schubert, Torben, 2023. "Post-growth and the demand-pull hypothesis of innovation: Biting the hand that feeds you?," Discussion Papers "Innovation Systems and Policy Analysis" 76, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    10. Giovanna Ciaffi & Matteo Deleidi & Enrico Sergio Levrero, 2022. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Public Spending in Research and Development: An Initial Exploration for G7 and 15 Oecd Countries," Bulletin of Political Economy, Bulletin of Political Economy, vol. 16(1), pages 1-19, June.
    11. Jose García-Quevedo & Francisco Mas-Verdú & Gabriele Pellegrino, 2017. "What firms don’t know can hurt them: Overcoming a lack of information on technology," Working Papers 2017/19, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    12. Dragana Radicic, 2021. "Financial and Non-Financial Barriers to Innovation and the Degree of Radicalness," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(4), pages 1-15, February.
    13. Giovanni Marin & Alberto Marzucchi & Roberto Zoboli, 2015. "SMEs and barriers to Eco-innovation in the EU: exploring different firm profiles," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 671-705, July.
    14. Davide Antonioli & Alberto Marzucchi & Maria Savona, 2017. "Pain shared, pain halved? Cooperation as a coping strategy for innovation barriers," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 841-864, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D strategy; barriers to innovation; demand uncertainty; lack of demand; innovative inputs; panel data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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