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Firms' Changes in R&D Personnel After the Introduction of Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland

Author

Listed:
  • Patrick Lehnert

    (University of Zurich)

  • Curdin Pfister

    (University of Zurich)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

This paper examines whether firms' increase R&D personnel as one important foundation for innovation activities in response to the introduction of Universities of Applied Sciences (UASs), i.e., tertiary vocational education institutions teaching and conducting applied research. Firms located near a new UAS campus experience an education-driven labor supply shock in the form of UAS graduates entering the local labor markets. We apply a difference-in-differences model, exploiting a quasi-natural experiment in the 1990s in Switzerland, the staggered openings of these UAS campuses. Using repeated cross-sectional data from the Swiss Earnings Structure Survey, we measure the employment of R&D personnel in treated firms: the percentage of R&D personnel relative to total employment and the percentage of total wages paid to them. The education-driven labor supply shock has positive effects on both the percentage of R&D personnel and the percentage of R&D wages. We find that these effects are driven by both very small firms (five to nine employees) and very large ones (5,000 or more). Our findings suggest that a tertiary education expansion can stimulate innovation activities in affected firms by increasing the resources devoted to R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Lehnert & Curdin Pfister & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2017. "Firms' Changes in R&D Personnel After the Introduction of Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0141, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Sep 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0141
    as

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    File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/leadinghouse/0141_lhwpaper.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D personnel; applied research; tertiary education expansion; Switzerland;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • 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

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