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R&D investment, productivity and rates of return: A meta-analysis of the evidence on OECD firms and industries

Listed author(s):
  • Ugur, Mehmet
  • Guidi, Francesco
  • Solomon, Edna
  • Trushin, Eshref

The volume of work on productivity effects of research and development (R&D) investment has expanded significantly following the contributions of Zvi Griliches and others to microeconometric work in late 1970s and early 1980s. This study aims to meta-analyse the research findings based on OECD firm and industry data, with a view to establish where the balance of the evidence lies and what factors may explain the variation in reported evidence. Drawing on 1,262 estimates from 64 primary studies, we report that the average effect of R&D capital on productivity and the average rate of return on R&D investment are both positive, but smaller than the summary measures reported in previous narrative reviews and meta-analysis studies. We also report that a range of moderating factors have significant effects on the variation among productivity and rates-of-return estimates reported in primary studies. Moderating factors with significant effects include: (i) measurement of inputs and output; (ii) model specifications; (iii) estimation methods; (iv) levels of analysis; (v) countries covered; and (vi) publication type among others.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/59686/1/MPRA_paper_59686.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 59686.

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Date of creation: 10 Aug 2014
Date of revision: 22 Oct 2014
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:59686
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  1. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2004. "Mapping the Two Faces of R&D: Productivity Growth in a Panel of OECD Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 883-895, November.
  2. Crepon, B. & Duguet, E. & Mairesse, J., 1998. "Research Investment, Innovation and Productivity: An Econometric Analysis at the Firm Level," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 98.15, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  3. T. D. Stanley & Stephen B. Jarrell, 2005. "Meta-Regression Analysis: A Quantitative Method of Literature Surveys," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 299-308, July.
  4. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Time-Series Minimum-Wage Studies: A Meta-analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 238-243, May.
  5. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity, R&D, and the Data Constraint," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 347-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John Van Reenen & Rupert Harrison & Rachel Griffith, 2006. "How Special Is the Special Relationship? Using the Impact of U.S. R&D Spillovers on U.K. Firms as a Test of Technology Sourcing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1859-1875, December.
  7. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
  8. Dietmar Harhoff, 1998. "R&D and Productivity in German Manufacturing Firms," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 29-50.
  9. Bronwyn H. Hall., 1993. "Industrial Research During the 1980s: Did the Rate of Return Fall?," Economics Working Papers 93-217, University of California at Berkeley.
  10. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril98-1, November.
  11. Costa-Font, Joan & McGuire, Alistair & Stanley, Tom, 2013. "Publication selection in health policy research: The winner's curse hypothesis," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 78-87.
  12. Schankerman, Mark, 1981. "The Effects of Double-Counting and Expensing on the Measured Returns to R&D," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 454-458, August.
  13. 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.
  14. T. D. Stanley, 2005. "Beyond Publication Bias," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 309-345, July.
  15. Bruno Crepon & Emmanuel Duguet & Jacques Mairesse, 1998. "Research, Innovation And Productivity: An Econometric Analysis At The Firm Level," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 115-158.
  16. Petr Hanel, 2000. "R&D, Interindustry and International Technology Spillovers and the Total Factor Productivity Growth of Manufacturing Industries in Canada, 1974-1989," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 345-361.
  17. Griliches, Zvi, 1980. "R & D and the Productivity Slowdown," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 343-348, May.
  18. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Doucouliagos, Chris & Stanley, T.D. & Giles, Margaret, 2012. "Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 197-206.
  20. Link, Albert N, 1981. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing: Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1111-1112, December.
  21. Hristos Doucouliagos & T. D. Stanley, 2009. "Publication Selection Bias in Minimum-Wage Research? A Meta-Regression Analysis," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(2), pages 406-428, June.
  22. Lichtenberg, Frank R & Siegel, Donald, 1991. "The Impact of R&D Investment on Productivity--New Evidence Using Linked R&D-LRD Data," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 203-229, April.
  23. Odagiri, Hiroyuki & Iwata, Hitoshi, 1986. "The impact of R&D on productivity increase in Japanese manufacturing companies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 13-19, February.
  24. Tor Jakob Klette, 1994. "R&D, Scope Economies and Company Structure: A "Not-so-Fixed Effect" Model of Plant Performance," Discussion Papers 120, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  25. repec:crs:wpaper:9833 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1984. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Patents, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Chapters,in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 73-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Odagiri, Hiroyuki, 1983. "R & D Expenditures, Royalty Payments, and Sales Growth in Japanese Manufacturing Corporations," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(1), pages 61-71, September.
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