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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 di Piacenza)

  • 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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  12. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques, 1995. "Exploring the relationship between R&D and productivity in French manufacturing firms," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 263-293, January.
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  14. 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.
  15. Wakelin, Katharine, 2001. "Productivity growth and R&D expenditure in UK manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1079-1090, August.
  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. 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).
  18. Conte, Andrea & Vivarelli, Marco, 2005. "One or Many Knowledge Production Functions? Mapping Innovative Activity Using Microdata," IZA Discussion Papers 1878, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  22. 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.
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