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The Origins of Industrial Scientific Discoveries

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  • James D. Adams
  • J. Roger Clemmons

Abstract

This paper estimates science production functions for R&D-performing firms in the United States using scientific papers as the measure of output, by analogy with patents. The underlying evidence covers 200 top U.S. R&D firms during 1981-1999 as well as 110 top U.S. universities. We find that industrial science builds on past scientific research inside and outside the firm, with most of the returns to scale in production deriving from outside knowledge. In turn, the largest outside contribution derives from universities rather than firms; this is especially true when papers are weighted by citations received, a measure of their importance. Consistent with the role assigned to knowledge spillovers in growth theory, the importance of outside knowledge, especially that of universities, increases from the firm to the industry level. The findings survive the inclusion of fixed effects, interactions among the effects, variations in sample and specification, and efforts to control for endogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • James D. Adams & J. Roger Clemmons, 2008. "The Origins of Industrial Scientific Discoveries," NBER Working Papers 13823, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13823
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adams, James D. & Black, Grant C. & Clemmons, J. Roger & Stephan, Paula E., 2005. "Scientific teams and institutional collaborations: Evidence from U.S. universities, 1981-1999," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 259-285, April.
    2. James D. Adams, 2002. "Comparative localization of academic and industrial spillovers," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 253-278, July.
    3. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    4. Tor Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2004. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 986-1018, October.
    5. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2008. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9787111235767, March.
    6. Lee Branstetter & Yoshiaki Ogura, 2005. "Is Academic Science Driving a Surge in Industrial Innovation? Evidence from Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 11561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Giovanni Peri, 2005. "Determinants of Knowledge Flows and Their Effect on Innovation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 308-322, May.
    8. Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1999. "International Knowledge Flows: Evidence From Patent Citations," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1-2), pages 105-136.
    9. James D. Adams & Adam B. Jaffe, 1996. "Bounding the Effects of R&D: An Investigation Using Matched Establishment-Firm Data," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(4), pages 700-721, Winter.
    10. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-784, August.
    12. 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 569-596, September.
    13. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
    14. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
    15. Peter Howitt, 2000. "Endogenous Growth and Cross-Country Income Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 829-846, September.
    16. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bhattacharya, Jay & Packalen, Mikko, 2011. "Opportunities and benefits as determinants of the direction of scientific research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 603-615, July.
    2. Goodall, Amanda H., 2009. "Highly cited leaders and the performance of research universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1079-1092, September.
    3. Shahid Yusuf & Kaoru Nabeshima, 2009. "Growth through Innovation : An Industrial Strategy for Shanghai," World Bank Other Operational Studies 18613, The World Bank.
    4. repec:wip:wpaper:6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Scherer, F.M., 2010. "Pharmaceutical Innovation," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    6. Simeth, Markus & Raffo, Julio D., 2013. "What makes companies pursue an Open Science strategy?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1531-1543.
    7. Simeth, Markus & Lhuillery, Stephane, 2015. "How do firms develop capabilities for scientific disclosure?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1283-1295.
    8. King, John L. & Toole, Andrew A. & Fuglie, Keith O., 2012. "The Complementary Roles of the Public and Private Sectors in U.S. Agricultural Research and Development," Economic Brief 138925, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    9. Pellens, Maikel & Della Malva, Antonio, 2016. "Changing of the guard: Structural change and corporate science in the semiconductor industry," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-050, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    10. Kim, Yee Kyoung & Lee, Keun & Park, Walter G. & Choo, Kineung, 2012. "Appropriate intellectual property protection and economic growth in countries at different levels of development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 358-375.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • 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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