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Is Corporate R&D Investment in High-Tech Sectors More Effective? Some Guidelines for European Research Policy

  • Ortega-Argilés, Raquel

    ()

    (IN+ Center for Innovation)

  • Piva, Mariacristina

    ()

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Potters, Lesley

    (Utrecht School of Economics)

  • Vivarelli, Marco

    ()

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

This paper discusses the link between R&D and productivity across the European industrial and service sectors. The empirical analysis is based on both the European sectoral OECD data and on a unique micro longitudinal database consisting of 532 top European R&D investors. The main conclusions are as follows. First, the R&D stock has a significant positive impact on labour productivity; this general result is largely consistent with previous literature in terms of the sign, the significance and the magnitude of the estimated coefficients. More interestingly, both at sectoral and firm levels the R&D coefficient increases monotonically (both in significance and magnitude) when we move from the low-tech to the medium and high-tech sectors. This outcome means that corporate R&D investment is more effective in the high-tech sectors and this may need to be taken into account when designing policy instruments (subsidies, fiscal incentives, etc.) in support of private R&D. However, R&D investment is not the sole source of productivity gains; technological change embodied in gross investment is of comparable importance on aggregate and is the main determinant of productivity increase in the low-tech sectors. Hence, an economic policy aiming to increase productivity in the low-tech sectors should support overall capital formation.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3945.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Contemporary Economic Policy, 2010, 28 (3), 353-365
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3945
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  2. Wakelin, Katharine, 2001. "Productivity growth and R&D expenditure in UK manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1079-1090, August.
  3. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse, 1992. "Exploring the Relationship Between R&D and Productivity in French Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 3956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bruno Crépon & Emmanuel Duguet & Jacques Mairesse, 1998. "Research, Innovation and Productivity : An Econometric Analysis at the Firm Level," Working Papers 98-33, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  5. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The resurgence of growth in the late 1990s: is information technology the story?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Francesco Daveri, 2002. "The New Economy in Europe, 1992--2001," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 345-362.
  7. Peters, Bettina & Lööf, Hans & Janz, Norbert, 2003. "Firm Level Innovation and Productivity: Is there a Common Story Across Countries?," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-26, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Arellano, M, 1987. "Computing Robust Standard Errors for Within-Groups Estimators," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(4), pages 431-34, November.
  9. Thomas Hatzichronoglou, 1997. "Revision of the High-Technology Sector and Product Classification," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 1997/2, OECD Publishing.
  10. Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2004. "The determinants of the skill bias in Italy: R&D, organisation or globalisation?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 329-347.
  11. Nadiri, M Ishaq & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1996. "Estimation of the Depreciation Rate of Physical and R&D Capital in the U.S. Total Manufacturing Sector," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 43-56, January.
  12. Jacques Mairesse & Mohamed Sassenou, 1991. "R&D Productivity: A Survey of Econometric Studies at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 3666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," NBER Working Papers 10310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Bronwyn H. Hall, 2007. "Measuring the Returns to R&D: The Depreciation Problem," NBER Working Papers 13473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Hans Loof & Almas Heshmati, 2006. "On the relationship between innovation and performance: A sensitivity analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4-5), pages 317-344.
  17. Zvi Griliches, 1979. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 92-116, Spring.
  18. Crepon, B. & Duguet, E. & Mairesse, J., 1998. "Research Investment, Innovation and Productivity: An Econometric Analysis at the Firm Level," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 98.15, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  19. Andrea Conte & Marco Vivarelli, 2006. "One or Many Knowlede Production Functions? Mapping Innovative Activity Using Microdata," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2006-03, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
  20. Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2002. "The Skill Bias: Comparative evidence and an econometric test," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 347-357.
  21. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  22. Francesco Crespi & Mario Pianta, 2008. "Diversity in innovation and productivity in Europe," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 529-545, August.
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