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R&D and Productivity in the UK: evidence from firm-level data in the 1990s

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  • Mark Rogers

Abstract

The UK`s business R&D (BERD) to GDP ratio is low compared to other leading economies, and the ratio has slowly declined over the 1990s. This paper uses data on large UK firms to analyse the link between R&D and productivity over the 1989-2000 period. Using a production function approach, and a sample of up to 719 firms, various different samples and estimators are used to assess the elasticity of, and rate of return to, R&D. The results indicate that UK returns to R&D are similar to returns in other leading economies. Furthermore, the returns to R&D have been relatively stable over the 1990s. There is no evidence to suggest that stock market listed firms, or firms with higher past profitability, have significantly different returns. Overall, the results suggest that the low BERD to GDP ratio in the UK is unlikely to be due to direct financial or human capital constraints (as these imply finding relatively high rates of return). Instead, the low BERD to GDP ratio appears to reflect low (perceived) opportunities by firms and the inability of firms to manage R&D to generate value. The paper provides some, tentative evidence, that high rates of competition in the science-based sector are associated with low returns to R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Rogers, 2006. "R&D and Productivity in the UK: evidence from firm-level data in the 1990s," Economics Series Working Papers 255, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:255
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper255.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ortega-Argilés, Raquel & Piva, Mariacristina & Vivarelli, Marco, 2011. "Productivity Gains from R&D Investment: Are High-Tech Sectors Still Ahead?," IZA Discussion Papers 5975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Lesley Potters & Marco Vivarelli, 2011. "R&D and productivity: testing sectoral peculiarities using micro data," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 817-839.
    3. Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Mariacristina Piva & Lesley Potters & Marco Vivarelli, 2010. "Is Corporate R&D Investment In High-Tech Sectors More Effective?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(3), pages 353-365, July.
    4. Michele Cincera & Claudio Cozza & Alexander Tübke, 2014. "Main drivers for local and global R&D sourcing of European Multinational Enterprises," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 4(2), pages 227-245, December.
    5. Subal Kumbhakar & Raquel Ortega-Argilés & Lesley Potters & Marco Vivarelli & Peter Voigt, 2012. "Corporate R&D and firm efficiency: evidence from Europe’s top R&D investors," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, pages 125-140.
    6. Bogliacino, Francesco & Pianta, Mario, 2011. "Engines of growth. Innovation and productivity in industry groups," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 41-53, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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