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The return to the technological frontier: The conditional effect of plants’ R&D on their productivity in Finnish manufacturing

  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Eero, Lehto
  • Huovari, Janne

This paper examines, through the use of plant-level data, whether R&D’s productivity impact is contingent on the distance of a plant’s productivity from the industry’s technological frontier. R&D is specified as an accumulated stock from R&D investments. We analyse the productivity effect of a plant’s own R&D as well as the productivity impact of the plant’s parent firm’s and other firms’ proximity-weighted R&D stocks. The results show that a plant’s own and a parent firm’s R&D have a positive productivity impact and that the former impact decreases as the distance from the industry’s technological frontier increases. Furthermore, the productivity effect of other firms’ proximity-weighted R&D is, on average, positive, but this impact increases in the distance from the technological frontier. Another important finding is that all the plants tend to converge towards the industry’s technological frontier despite the size of external R&D spillovers.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 8715.

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Date of creation: 12 May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8715
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  1. Breschi, Stefano & Lissoni, Francesco, 2001. "Knowledge Spillovers and Local Innovation Systems: A Critical Survey," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 975-1005, December.
  2. Vandenbussche, Jérôme & Aghion, Philippe & Meghir, Costas, 2006. "Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital," Scholarly Articles 12490648, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Eric von Hippel, 1994. ""Sticky Information" and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(4), pages 429-439, April.
  4. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2000. "Mapping the Two Faces of R&D: Productivity Growth in a Panel of OECD Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0458, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, 03.
  6. Scarpetta, Stefano & Tressel, Thierry, 2004. "Boosting productivity via innovation and adoption of new technologies : any role for labor market institutions?," Social Protection Discussion Papers 29144, The World Bank.
  7. Michael J. Orlando, 2004. "Measuring Spillovers from Industrial R&D: On the Importance of Geographic and Technological Proximity," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(4), pages 777-786, Winter.
  8. Tibor Scitovsky, 1954. "Two Concepts of External Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 143.
  9. Feyrer James D, 2008. "Convergence by Parts," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-35, July.
  10. Petri Rouvinen, 2002. "R&D-Productivity Dynamics: Causality, Lags, and "Dry Holes"," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 123-156, May.
  11. Eero Lehto, 2007. "Regional Impact of Research and Development on Productivity," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 623-638.
  12. Sourafel Girma, 2003. "Absorptive capacity and productivity spillovers From FDI: a threshold regression analysis," European Economy Group Working Papers 25, European Economy Group.
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