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Innovation and Productivity in SMEs: Empirical Evidence for Italy

  • Bronwyn H. Hall
  • Francesca Lotti
  • Jacques Mairesse

Innovation in SMEs exhibits some peculiar features that most traditional indicators of innovation activity do not capture. Therefore, in this paper, we develop a structural model of innovation which incorporates information on innovation success from firm surveys along with the usual R&D expenditures and productivity measures. We then apply the model to data on Italian SMEs from the "Survey on Manufacturing Firms" conducted by Mediocredito-Capitalia covering the period 1995-2003. The model is estimated in steps, following the logic of firms' decisions and outcomes: in the first, R&D intensity is linked to a set of firm and market characteristics. We find that international competition fosters R&D intensity, especially for high-tech firms. Firm size, R&D intensity, along with investment in equipment enhances the likelihood of having both process and product innovation. Both these kinds of innovation have a positive impact on firm's productivity, especially process innovation. Among SMEs, larger and older firms seem to be less productive.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14594.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Publication status: published as Bronwyn Hall & Francesca Lotti & Jacques Mairesse, 2009. "Innovation and productivity in SMEs: empirical evidence for Italy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 13-33, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14594
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