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

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  • Maria Elena Bontempi
  • Jacques Mairesse

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Elena Bontempi & Jacques Mairesse, 2008. "Intangible Capital and Productivity: An Exploration on a Panel of Italian Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 14108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14108
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
    2. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," NBER Working Papers 5067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. 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. 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.
    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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sandro Montresor & Antonio Vezzani, 2016. "Intangible investments and innovation propensity: Evidence from the Innobarometer 2013," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 331-352, May.
    2. Arrighetti, Alessandro & Landini, Fabio & Lasagni, Andrea, 2014. "Intangible assets and firm heterogeneity: Evidence from Italy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 202-213.
    3. Giuliano Conti & Alessia Lo Turco & Daniela Maggioni, 2014. "Rethinking the import-productivity nexus for Italian manufacturing," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 589-617, November.
    4. Michele Battisti & Filippo Belloc & Massimo Del Gatto, 2015. "Unbundling Technology Adoption and tfp at the Firm Level: Do Intangibles Matter?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 390-414, June.
    5. Štěpán Jurajda & Juraj Stančík, 2013. "Organization and Firm Performance in the Czech Republic," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2013(1), pages 85-110.
    6. Emanuela Marrocu & Raffaele Paci & Marco Pontis, 2011. "Intangible capital and firms productivity (refereed paper)," ERSA conference papers ersa10p496, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Emanuela Marrocu & Raffaele Paci & Marco Pontis, 2012. "Intangible capital and firms' productivity," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 377-402, April.
    8. M. E. Bontempi & I. Mammi, 2012. "A strategy to reduce the count of moment conditions in panel data GMM," Working Papers wp843, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    9. Alessandro Arrighetti & Fabio Landini & Andrea Lasagni, 2015. "Intangible Asset Dynamics and Firm Behaviour," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(5), pages 402-422, July.
    10. A. Arrighetti & F. Landini & A. Lasagni, 2015. "Firms’economic crisis and firm exit: do intangibles matters?," Economics Department Working Papers 2015-EP04, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    11. Tatiana Muntean, 2014. "Intangible Assets and their Contribution to Labour Productivity Growth in Ontario," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 27, pages 22-39, Fall.
    12. Martin Falk, 2013. "New empirical findings for international investment in intangible assets," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 30, WWWforEurope.
    13. repec:elg:eechap:18031_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:wfo:wstudy:46891 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Cristiano Antonelli & Francesco Crespi & Giuseppe Scellato, 2018. "Productivity growth persistence: firm strategies, size and system properties," Chapters,in: The Evolutionary Complexity of Endogenous Innovation, chapter 8, pages 176-202 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Landini, Fabio & Arrighetti, Alessandro & Lasagni, Andrea, 2015. "Economic Crisis and Firm Exit: Do Intangibles Matter?," SEP Working Papers 2015/10, LUISS School of European Political Economy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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