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Evidence on the Impact of R&D and ICT Investment on Innovation and Productivity in Italian Firms

  • Bronwyn H. Hall
  • Francesca Lotti
  • Jacques Mairesse

Both Research and Development (R&D) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investment have been identified as sources of relative innovation underperformance in Europe vis-à-vis the United States. In this paper we investigate R&D and ICT investment at the firm level in an effort to assess their relative importance and to what extent they are complements or substitutes. We use data on a large unbalanced panel data sample of Italian manufacturing firms constructed from four consecutive waves of a survey of manufacturing firms, together with a version of the CDM model (Crepon et al., 1998) that has been modified to include ICT investment and R&D as the two main inputs into innovation and productivity. We find that R&D and ICT are both strongly associated with innovation and productivity, with R&D being more important for innovation, and ICT investment being more important for productivity. For the median firm, rates of return to both investments are so high that they suggest considerably underinvestment in both these activities.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18053.

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Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Bronwyn H. Hall & Francesca Lotti & Jacques Mairesse, 2013. "Evidence on the impact of R&D and ICT investments on innovation and productivity in Italian firms," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 300-328, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18053
Note: PR
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  1. Bronwyn Hall & Francesca Lotti & Jacques Mairesse, 2006. "Employment, innovation and productivity: evidence from Italian microdata," IFS Working Papers W06/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  3. Rachel Griffith & Elena Huergo & Jacques Mairesse & Bettina Peters, 2006. "Innovation and Productivity across Four European Countries," NBER Working Papers 12722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Crepon, B. & Duguet, E. & Mairesse, J., 1998. "Research Investment, Innovation and Productivity: An Econometric Analysis at the Firm Level," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 98.15, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  7. Matteo Bugamelli & Patrizio Pagano, 2001. "Barriers to investment in ICT," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 420, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Lerner, Josh, 2010. "The Financing of R&D and Innovation," MERIT Working Papers 012, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  9. Bruno Crepon & Emmanuel Duguet & Jacques Mairesse, 1998. "Research, Innovation And Productivity: An Econometric Analysis At The Firm Level," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 115-158.
  10. Polder, Michael & Leeuwen, George van & Mohnen, Pierre & Raymond, Wladimir, 2009. "Productivity effects of innovation modes," MPRA Paper 18893, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. repec:fth:inseep:9833 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2003. "Multivariate probit regression using simulated maximum likelihood," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2003 10, Stata Users Group.
  13. Greenman, N. & Mairesse, J., 1996. "Computers and Productivity in France: Some Evidence," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 15/96, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  14. Cequera, Daniel & Klein, Gordon J., 2008. "Endogenous Firm Heterogeneity, ICT and R&D Incentives," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-126, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Jacques Mairesse & Nathalie Greenan & Agnes Topiol-Bensaid, 2001. "Information Technology and Research and Development Impacts on Productivity and Skills: Looking for Correlations on French Firm Level Data," NBER Working Papers 8075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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