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Firm R&D units and outsourcing partners: A matching story

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  • Barge-Gil, Andrés
  • Conti, Annamaria

Abstract

We present a theory that examines the optimal match between firm R&D units and external partners for projects that involve problem solving. We have a firm selecting an external partner conditional on the learning costs of its internal R&D unit. We show that there exists a matching equilibrium with property that external partners with low learning costs for a project work with R\&D units that also have low learning costs for the same project. Empirically, we use a dataset of Spanish R\&D firms and relate their share of R&D outsourcing to universities to the composition of their R&D units, described by the presence of staff with a PhD. Our main finding is that, controlling for endogeneity, firms that employ R\&D staff with a PhD outsource relatively more to universities than to firms. We interpret this result as evidence that R&D units with relatively low learning costs for basic projects tend to match with external partners, universities, with relatively low learning costs for the same projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Barge-Gil, Andrés & Conti, Annamaria, 2013. "Firm R&D units and outsourcing partners: A matching story," MPRA Paper 44090, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:44090
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Herrera, Liliana & Nieto, Mariano, 2016. "PhD careers in Spanish industry: Job determinants in manufacturing versus non-manufacturing firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 341-351.
    2. Barge-Gil, Andres & D'Este, Pablo & Herrera, Liliana, 2018. "Corporate scientists as the triggers of transitions towards firms' exploration research strategies," MPRA Paper 85415, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm R&D Units; Outsourcing; External Partners; Optimal Matching;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures

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