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Behind the Scenes: Sources of Complementarity in R&D

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  • Marco Ceccagnoli
  • Matthew J. Higgins
  • Vincenzo Palermo

Abstract

Even though management consultants increasingly recommend that in-house research be outsourced, little is known about the conditions favoring substitution or complementarity between internal R&D and external technology acquisition. In this paper, we attempt to provide a deeper understanding of the firm-level drivers of complementarity between these two types of investments through the structural estimation of a flexible innovation production function, such as the translog. Our empirical analysis is based on a unique panel dataset on the R&D and in-licensing expenditures of 94 global pharmaceutical firms active in drug development between 1997 and 2005. Our results suggest that internal R&D and in-licensing in the pharmaceutical industry were neither complements nor substitutes during the study period. However, we find that the degree of complementarity is enhanced for firms with stronger absorptive capacity, economies of scope, and past licensing experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Ceccagnoli & Matthew J. Higgins & Vincenzo Palermo, 2013. "Behind the Scenes: Sources of Complementarity in R&D," NBER Working Papers 18795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18795
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    Cited by:

    1. Spyros Arvanitis & Boris Lokshin & Pierre Mohnen & Martin Woerter, 2015. "Impact of External Knowledge Acquisition Strategies on Innovation: A Comparative Study Based on Dutch and Swiss Panel Data," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 46(4), pages 359-382, June.
    2. Ashish Arora & Michelle Gittelman & Sarah Kaplan & John Lynch & Will Mitchell & Nicolaj Siggelkow & Denisa Mindruta & Mahka Moeen & Rajshree Agarwal, 2016. "A two-sided matching approach for partner selection and assessing complementarities in partners' attributes in inter-firm alliances," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 206-231, January.
    3. repec:nos:lkhaof:19 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:tefoso:v:135:y:2018:i:c:p:51-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Billette de Villemeur, Etienne & Versaevel, Bruno, 2019. "One lab, two firms, many possibilities: On R&D outsourcing in the biopharmaceutical industry," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 260-283.
    6. Rehman, Naqeeb Ur, 2015. "Does Internal and External R&D Affect SMEs Innovation Performance? Micro Level Evidence from India and Pakistan," EconStor Preprints 113229, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    7. María García-Vega & Elena Huergo, 2019. "Asymmetric additionalities between R&D outsourcing locations," Discussion Papers 2019-08, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    8. repec:eee:jeborg:v:157:y:2019:i:c:p:775-792 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. García-Vega, María & Huergo, Elena, 2019. "The role of international and domestic R&D outsourcing for firm innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 775-792.
    10. Rehman, Naqeeb Ur, 2016. "Does Internal and External Research and Development Affect Innovation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises? Evidence from India and Pakistan," ADBI Working Papers 577, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    11. repec:eee:techno:v:72-73:y:2018:i::p:24-33 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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