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R&D and Non-linear Productivity Growth of Heterogeneous Firms

The present paper studies the relationship between R&D investment and firm productivity growth by explicitly accounting for non-linearities in the R&D-productivity relationship and inter-sectoral firm heterogeneity. In order to address these issues, we employ a two step estimation approach, and match two firm-level panel data sets for the OECD countries, which allows us to relax both the linearity and homogeneity assumptions of the canonical Griliches (1979) knowledge capital model. Our results suggest that: (i) R&D investment increases firm productivity with an average elasticity of 0.15; (ii) the impact of R&D investment on firm productivity is differential at different levels of R&D intensity – the productivity elasticity ranges from -0.02 for low levels of R&D intensity to 0.33 for high levels of R&D intensity; (iii) the relationship between R&D expenditures and productivity growth is non-linear, and only after a certain critical mass of R&D is reached, the productivity growth is significantly positive; (iv) there are important inter-sectoral differences with respect to R&D investment and firm productivity - high-tech sectors' firms not only invest more in R&D, but also achieve more in terms of productivity gains connected with research activities.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 12-315.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:12-315
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  1. Griliches, Zvi & Mairesse, Jacques, 1983. "Comparing productivity growth: An exploration of french and U.S. industrial and firm data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 89-119.
  2. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Hanel, Petr & Rosa, Julio Miguel, 2004. "Evaluating the Impact of R&D Tax Credits on Innovation: A Microeconometric Study on Canadian Firms," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-77, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  4. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Mosahid Khan & Kul B. Luintel & Konstantinos Theodoris, 2010. "How Robust is the R&D – Productivity relationship? Evidence from OECD Countries," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 01, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division, revised Dec 2010.
  6. Jacques Mairesse & Pierre Mohnen, 2004. "The Importance of R&D for Innovation: A Reassessment Using French Survey Data," NBER Working Papers 10897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. D'Artis Kancs & Pavel Ciaian, 2011. "Modelling the flow of knowledge and human capital: a framework of innovative capital," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1/2/3), pages 134-160.
  8. Harhoff, Dietmar, 1994. "R&D and productivity in German manufacturing firms," ZEW Discussion Papers 94-01, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. P. Geroski, 1998. "An Applied Econometrician's View of Large Company Performance," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 271-294, June.
  10. Zvi Griliches, 1958. "Research Costs and Social Returns: Hybrid Corn and Related Innovations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 419.
  11. Ilke Van Beveren, 2007. "Total factor productivity estimation: A practical review," LICOS Discussion Papers 18207, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  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.
  13. Aminata SISSOKO, 2011. "R&D Subsidies And Firm-Level Productivity: Evidence From France," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011002, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 24 Oct 2013.
  14. Markus Eberhardt & Christian Helmers, 2010. "Untested Assumptions and Data Slicing: A Critical Review of Firm-Level Production Function Estimators," Economics Series Working Papers 513, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. Furman, Jeffrey L. & Porter, Michael E. & Stern, Scott, 2002. "The determinants of national innovative capacity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 899-933, August.
  16. Thorwarth, Susanne & Kraft, Kornelius & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2008. "The Knowledge Production of 'R' and 'D'," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-046, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  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. repec:wip:wpaper:1 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Lesley Potters, 2009. "R&D in low-tech sectors," JRC-IPTS Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2009-8, Institute of Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
  20. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Mariacristina Piva & Lesley Potters & Marco Vivarelli, 2009. "Is Corporate R&D Investment in High-Tech Sectors More Effective?," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali dises0955, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  22. Becker, Sascha O. & Egger, Peter & von Ehrlich, Maximilian, 2010. "Too much of a good thing? On the growth effects of the EU's regional policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 8043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Xulia González & Jordi Jaumandreu, . "Threshold effects in product R&D decisions: theoretical framework and empirical analysis," Studies on the Spanish Economy 78, FEDEA.
  24. Francesco Bogliacino, 2014. "Innovation and employment: A firm level analysis with European R&D Scoreboard data," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 15(2), pages 141_154.
  25. Subal C. Kumbhakar & Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Lesley Potters & Marco Vivarelli & Peter Voigt, 2010. "Corporate R&D and firm efficiency: Evidence from Europe’s top R&D investors," JRC-IPTS Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2010-11, Institute of Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
  26. Pietro Moncada-Paternò-Castello & Constantin Ciupagea & Keith Smith & Alexander Tübke & Mike Tubbs, 2009. "Does Europe perform too little corporate R&D? A comparison of EU and non-EU corporate R&D performance," JRC-IPTS Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2009-11, Institute of Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
  27. Cincera, Michele, 1997. "Patents, R&D, and Technological Spillovers at the Firm Level: Some Evidence from Econometric Count Models for Panel Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 265-80, May-June.
  28. Fabrizio, Kira R., 2009. "Absorptive capacity and the search for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 255-267, March.
  29. Chang, Chia-Lin & Robin, Stéphane, 2008. "Public policy, innovation and total factor productivity: An application to Taiwan's manufacturing industry," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 352-367.
  30. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  31. Ulrich Doraszelski & Jordi Jaumandreu, 2013. "R&D and Productivity: Estimating Endogenous Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1338-1383.
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