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Intangible Capital and Productivity: An Exploration on a Panel of Italian Manufacturing Firms

  • Maria Elena Bontempi
  • Jacques Mairesse

The paper examines the size and productivity of total intangible capital relative to total tangible capital for a large panel of Italian Manufacturing firms. In the analysis, we decompose total intangibles in two different ways: in intangibles expensed in firms' current accounts (as usually considered in empirical studies) versus intangible capitalized in firms' balance sheets (usually not considered); and in "intellectual capital" (i.e. R&D expenditures, and patenting and related costs) versus "customer capital" (i.e., advertising expenditure, and trademarks and related costs). We systematically assess the robustness of our results by using different specifications of the production functions implying different elasticities of substitution between tangible and intangible capital, and comparing different panel data estimates. Our results underscore that firms' accounting information on intangible investments is genuinely informative, showing that intangible capital and its different components are at least as productive as tangible capital.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14108.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14108
Note: PR
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2002. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2003 02, Stata Users Group.
  4. Jacques Mairesse & Bronwyn H. Hall, 1996. "Estimating the Productivity of Research and Development: An Exploration of GMM Methods Using Data on French & United States Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 5501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Z, Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1997. "Production Functions : The Search for Identification," Working Papers 97-30, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Thomas Hatzichronoglou, 1997. "Revision of the High-Technology Sector and Product Classification," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 1997/2, OECD Publishing.
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