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Intangible Assets, Resource Allocation and Growth: A Framework for Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Dan Andrews


  • Alain de Serres


This paper explores the growing importance of intangible assets as a potential source of innovation and productivity gains, and the contribution of efficient resource allocation to this process. Realising the growth opportunities implied by intangible assets depends on the ability to reallocate labour and capital to their most productive use, which is determined by the design of framework policies. The redeployment of tangible resources takes on heightened importance given the inherent difficulties in allocating intangibles efficiently. Indeed, the characteristics of intangible assets create market imperfections, which hinder the allocation of new ideas to where they can be developed most efficiently. While a number of policy instruments are typically deployed to address these market failures, the paper also explores how the growing importance of intangible assets is affecting the suitability of these policy tools. In turn, a number of policy issues are identified, spanning the financing of start-up firms, the treatment of intangibles in corporate valuation and accounting frameworks, competition policy in the digital economy and the role of intellectual property rights frameworks in rapidly growing domains such as information technology. Les actifs intangibles, l'allocation des biens de production et la croissance : Un cadre d'analyse Cette étude examine le potentiel des actifs intangibles comme source d’innovation et de gains de productivité, ainsi que la contribution de l’allocation des ressources à ce processus. Afin de réaliser les opportunités de croissance offertes par les actifs intangibles, il est nécessaire de pouvoir redéployer les ressources en capital et en travail pour les utiliser de la manière la plus productive. Le redéploiement des ressources tangibles est d’autant plus important que les actifs intangibles peuvent êtres difficiles à allouer de manière efficiente. En effet, leur caractère immatériels entraîne des défaillances de marché qui font en sorte que l es idées les plus innovantes ne sont pas toujours développées là où leur potentiel commercial peut être exploité de manière optimale. Cette étude explore dans quelle mesure l’efficience des politiques publiques mise en place pour pallier aux défaillances des marché est mise en cause par l’importance croissante des actifs intangibles. Les champs de politiques publiques jouant un rôle déterminant incluent le financement des nouvelles entreprises innovantes (start-up), le traitement des actifs intangibles dans la comptabilité et l’évaluation financière des entreprises, l’application des politiques de concurrence à l’économie numérique ainsi que cadre législatif visant à protéger les droits de propriété intellectuelle.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 989.

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Date of creation: 18 Sep 2012
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:989-en
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