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R and D and Productivity at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?

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  • Zvi Griliches
  • Frank R. Lichtenberg

Abstract

This paper is a re-examination of the relationship between research and development (R&D) activity and total factor productivity (TFP) at the industry level during the period extending from the early 1960's to the mid-1970's. The data base consists of NSF data on applied R&D expenditures by product class, matched to TFP indices derived from the detailed Census-Penn-SRI manufacturing data file. A hypothesis suggested by previous research on the R&D-productivity relationship is that, due, perhaps, to the depletion of scientific opportunities, the "potency'' of R&D as a source of technological progress has declined in recent years. Our findings indicate, however, that the relationship between an industry's R&D-intensity and its productivity growth did not disappear; if anything, the relationship was stronger in recent years. The overall deceleration in productivity in recent years has affected R&D-intensive industries, but to a lesser extent than it has other industries. What cannot be found in the data is strong evidence of the differential effects of the slowdown in R&D itself. The time series appear to be too noisy and the period too short to detect what the major consequences of the retardation in the growth of R&D expenditures may yet turn out to be.

Suggested Citation

  • Zvi Griliches & Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1982. "R and D and Productivity at the Industry Level: Is There Still a Relationship?," NBER Working Papers 0850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0850 Note: PR
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    1. William D. Nordhaus, 1980. "Policy Responses to the Productivity Slowdown," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 555, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2001. "The Allocation of Publicly Funded Biomedical Research," NBER Chapters,in: Medical Care Output and Productivity, pages 565-590 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Comparing Productivity Growth: An Exploration of French and U.S. Industrial and Firm Data," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 157-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fernando Borraz & Nicolás Gonzalez Pampillón, 2011. "Assessing the Distributive Impact of More than Doubling the Minimum Wage: The Case of Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1711, Department of Economics - dECON.
    4. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung & Conseil d'Analyse Écon (ed.), 2010. "Monitoring economic performance, quality of life and sustainability. Joint report as requested by the Franco-German Ministerial Council," Occasional Reports / Expertisen, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, number 75366.

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