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

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  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ortega-Argilés, Raquel & Piva, Mariacristina & Potters, Lesley & Vivarelli, Marco, 2009. "Is Corporate R&D Investment in High-Tech Sectors More Effective? Some Guidelines for European Research Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3945, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3945
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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).
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    Cited by:

    1. Montresor, Sandro & Vezzani, Antonio, 2015. "The production function of top R&D investors: Accounting for size and sector heterogeneity with quantile estimations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 381-393.
    2. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques & Mohnen, Pierre, 2010. "Measuring the Returns to R&D," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    3. Fernandes, Cristina & Ferreira, João & Raposo, Mario, 2013. "Drivers to firm innovation and their effects on performance: An international comparison," MPRA Paper 46776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Jarle Møen & Helge Sandvig Thorsen, 2017. "Publication Bias in the Returns to R&D Literature," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 8(3), pages 987-1013, September.
    5. Raquel Ortega-Argilés, 2013. "R&D, knowledge, economic growth and the transatlantic productivity gap," Chapters,in: Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, chapter 11, pages 271-302 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    high-tech sectors; productivity; industrial policy; R&D; innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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