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Research and Productivity

  • Boyan Jovanovic
  • Yaw Nyarko

We model research as a signal on an unknown parameter of a technology. We distinguish applied from basic research and show that firms in the same industry can optimally choose different research portfolios, and that basic research can seem to have a higher rate of return than applied research, even though it really doesn't -- essentially, firms on a 'fast track' upgrading policy opt for basic research but fast and slow-track upgrading policies can coexist in a long-run equilibrium. We also derive the lag structure for how R&D affects the firm's stock of knowledge. To a first approximation, the lags decay geometrically (as is typically assumed in practice) but the rate of decay is endogenous, and depends on how fast the firm is upgrading its technology.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5321.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5321.

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Date of creation: Oct 1995
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Publication status: published as Navaretti, G. Barba, et al. (eds.) Creation and transfer of knowledge: Institutions and incentives. Heidelberg and New York: Springer, 1998.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5321
Note: PR
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  1. Stephen D. Oliner, 1993. "New evidence on the retirement and depreciation of machine tools," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 147, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Hall, Bronwyn H., 1989. "TheImpact of Corporate Restructuring On Industrial Research and Development," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7dw7p5dq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Doms, Mark & Dunne, Timothy & Roberts, Mark J., 1995. "The role of technology use in the survival and growth of manufacturing plants," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 523-542, December.
  4. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-73, December.
  5. Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe, 1992. "Ivory Tower Versus Corporate Lab: An Empirical Study of Basic Research and Appropriability," NBER Working Papers 4146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ricardo J. Caballero & Adam B. Jaffe, 1993. "How High are the Giants' Shoulders: An Empirical Assessment of Knowledge Spillovers and Creative Destruction in a Model of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hulten, Charles R. & Wykoff, Frank C., 1981. "The estimation of economic depreciation using vintage asset prices : An application of the Box-Cox power transformation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 367-396, April.
  8. Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-83, August.
  9. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1984. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Patents, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 73-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Frank R. Lichtenberg & Donald Siegel, 1989. "The Impact of R&D Investment On Productivity - New Evidence Using Linked R&D-LRD Data," NBER Working Papers 2901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Link, Albert N, 1981. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing: Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1111-12, December.
  12. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Dilip Mookherjee, 1986. "Portfolio Choice in Research and Development," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 594-605, Winter.
  13. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
  14. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
  15. Pakes, Ariel & Schankerman, Mark A., 1978. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Knowledge, Research Gestation Labs, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," Working Papers 78-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  16. Lach, Saul & Schankerman, Mark, 1989. "Dynamics of R&D and Investment in the Scientific Sector," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 880-904, August.
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