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Intangible assets and firms heterogeneity: evidence from Italy

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  • A. Arrighetti
  • F. Landini
  • A. Lasagni

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Abstract

The positive impact of intangible assets on several measures of economic performance is well documented in the literature. Less clear is what leads firms to invest in intangible assets in the first place. The latter is particularly important since, at least for the Italian manufacturing sector, firms exhibit a very strong heterogeneity in their level of intangible asset investments. In line with the capability-based theory of the firm we argue that the firm’s propensity to invest in intangible assets can be explained by factors that are internal and specific to the firm. Making use of a rich dataset we test and provide support for our hypotheses. In particular we find that the propensity to invest in intangible assets increases with the firm’s size, human capital and organizational complexity and with the past level of intangible assets. This points toward the existence of a cumulative dynamics in the process of intangible assets accumulation that may account for most of the heterogeneity observed in the data. The paper adds to the previous literature in two ways: first it highlights the existence of a strong intra-industry heterogeneity in intangible assets investments; and second, it offers an explanation for such heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Arrighetti & F. Landini & A. Lasagni, 2011. "Intangible assets and firms heterogeneity: evidence from Italy," Economics Department Working Papers 2011-EP02, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
  • Handle: RePEc:par:dipeco:2011-ep02
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandro Montresor & Antonio Vezzani, 2016. "Intangible investments and innovation propensity: Evidence from the Innobarometer 2013," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 331-352, May.
    2. HOSONO Kaoru & MIYAKAWA Daisuke & TAKIZAWA Miho & YAMANOUCHI Kenta, 2016. "Complementarity and Substitutability between Tangible and Intangible Capital: Evidence from Japanese firm-level data," Discussion papers 16024, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. D'AMORE, Rosamaria & IORIO, Roberto & LUBRANO LAVADERA, Giuseppe, 2017. "Exploring the Relationship Between Human Capital and Innovation at the Firm Level: A study on a Sample of European Firms," CELPE Discussion Papers 144, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    4. Alessandro Arrighetti & Fabio Landini & Andrea Lasagni, 2015. "Intangible Asset Dynamics and Firm Behaviour," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(5), pages 402-422, July.
    5. A. Arrighetti & F. Landini & A. Lasagni, 2015. "Firms’economic crisis and firm exit: do intangibles matters?," Economics Department Working Papers 2015-EP04, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    6. Meir Russ & Bino Catasùs, 2014. "Editorial. Intellectual Capital and Management Control: Human Capital Valuation and other challenges," MANAGEMENT CONTROL, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(2), pages 5-21.
    7. Cristiano Antonelli & Francesco Crespi & Giuseppe Scellato, 2015. "Productivity growth persistence: firm strategies, size and system properties," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 129-147, June.
    8. Andonova, Veneta & Ruíz-Pava, Guillermo, 2016. "The role of industry factors and intangible assets in company performance in Colombia," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 4377-4384.
    9. Landini, Fabio & Arrighetti, Alessandro & Lasagni, Andrea, 2015. "Economic Crisis and Firm Exit: Do Intangibles Matter?," SEP Working Papers 2015/10, LUISS School of European Political Economy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    : intangible assets; human capital; firms heterogeneity; organizational complexity; complementarity; knowledge economy; organizational capabilities;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • 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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