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On the Failure of R&D Projects

Author

Listed:
  • Link, Albert

    (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)

  • Wright, Mike

    (Imperial College and University of Ghent)

Abstract

There is an extensive literature on the success/failure of firm-funded R&D projects but growing policy interest focuses on publicly-funded R&D projects. Using data from 1,878 Phase II R&D projects funded through the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, of which 624 had been discontinued prior to technical completion, we provide for the first time findings on the success/failure of publicly-funded firm-performed R&D projects. We find that prior R&D experience with the technology being funded by SBIR projects, the amount of the SBIR award, and having a female PI, other factors held constant, is negatively related to the probability of project failure. In contrast, firm size is positively associated with project failure. We discuss the implications of these findings for practice, policy, and further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Link, Albert & Wright, Mike, 2015. "On the Failure of R&D Projects," UNCG Economics Working Papers 15-3, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2015_003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hartog,Joop & Maassen van den Brink,Henriëtte (ed.), 2007. "Human Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521873161, November.
    2. Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "Industry Structure, Market Rivalry, and Public Policy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-9, April.
    3. Link, Albert N. & Scott, John T., 2011. "Public Goods, Public Gains: Calculating the Social Benefits of Public R&D," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199729685, Decembrie.
    4. Fiona Murray & Leigh Graham, 2007. "Buying science and selling science: gender differences in the market for commercial science," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press and the Associazione ICC, vol. 16(4), pages 657-689, August.
    5. Nick Wilson & Mike Wright & Louise Scholes, 2013. "Family Business Survival and the Role of Boards," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 37(6), pages 1369-1389, November.
    6. Albert N. Link & John T. Scott, 2013. "Employment growth from public support of innovation in small firms," Chapters, in: Public Support of Innovation in Entrepreneurial Firms, chapter 3, pages 41-64, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Rasmussen, Einar & Mosey, Simon & Wright, Mike, 2014. "The influence of university departments on the evolution of entrepreneurial competencies in spin-off ventures," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 92-106.
    8. Albert N. Link, 2013. "Public Support of Innovation in Entrepreneurial Firms," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15558.
    9. Simon Mosey & Mike Wright, 2007. "From Human Capital to Social Capital: A Longitudinal Study of Technology–Based Academic Entrepreneurs," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 31(6), pages 909-935, November.
    10. Grimaldi, Rosa & Kenney, Martin & Siegel, Donald S. & Wright, Mike, 2011. "30 years after Bayh-Dole: Reassessing academic entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1045-1057, October.
    11. Audretsch, David B, 1991. "New-Firm Survival and the Technological Regime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 441-450, August.
    12. Mansfield, Edwin & Wagner, Samuel, 1975. "Organizational and Strategic Factors Associated with Probabilities of Success in Industrial R & D," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 179-198, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gicheva, Dora & Link, Albert N., 2016. "On the economic performance of nascent entrepreneurs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 109-117.
    2. Kristof Van Criekingen & Mark Freel & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2021. "Open innovation deficiency: Evidence on project abandonment and delay," Working Papers of Department of Management, Strategy and Innovation, Leuven 668283, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), Department of Management, Strategy and Innovation, Leuven.
    3. Stephane Lhuillery & Julio Raffo & Intan Hamdan-Livramento, 2016. "Measuring creativity: Learning from innovation measurement," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 31, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    4. Albert N. Link, 2017. "Ideation, entrepreneurship, and innovation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 279-285, February.
    5. Martin S. Andersen & Jeremy W. Bray & Albert N. Link, 2017. "On the failure of scientific research: an analysis of SBIR projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(1), pages 431-442, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D; project failure; innovation; SBIR; public sector;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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