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Costly Information in Firm Transformation, Exit, or Persistent Failure

  • Lynne G. Zucker
  • Michael R. Darby

Firms invest differentially in the intellectual human capital required to recognize, evaluate, and utilize technological breakthroughs occurring outside the firm. Such differential investment has been crucial in explaining which incumbent pharmaceutical firms have successfully transformed their technological identities in response to the biotechnological revolution and which are threatened by persistent low performance. While all incumbent firms lagged the dedicated new biotechnology firms in adopting the new drug-discovery technology, firms with higher R&D expenditures before the biotech revolution were more likely to successfully adopt the new techniques and likely to do so earlier. Failure to adopt the new techniques was associated with lower performance compared to firms adopting more fully and faster.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5577.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5577.

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Date of creation: May 1996
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 39, no. 8, August 1996.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5577
Note: PR
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  1. Zucker, Lynne G. & Brewer, Marilynn B. & Darby, Michael R. & Peng, Yusheng, 1994. "Collaboration Structure and Information Dilemmas in Biotechnology: Organizational Boundaries as Trust Production," Institute for Social Science Research, Working Paper Series qt0gd8j9k8, Institute for Social Science Research, UCLA.
  2. Michael R. Darby, 1974. "Rational Expectations Under Conditions of Costly Information," UCLA Economics Working Papers 045, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Patricia M. Danzon & Allison Percy, 1999. "The Effects of Price Regulation on Productivity in Pharmaceuticals," NBER Chapters, in: International and Interarea Comparisons of Income, Output, and Prices, pages 371-418 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby, 1995. "Present at the Revolution: Transformation of Technical Identity for a Large Incumbent Pharmaceutical Firm After the Biotechnological Breakthrough," NBER Working Papers 5243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hanson, Gordon H, 1995. "Incomplete Contracts, Risk, and Ownership," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 341-63, May.
  6. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Jeff Armstrong, 1994. "Intellectual Capital and the Firm: The Technology of Geographically Localized Knowledge Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
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