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Learning, Internal Research, and Spillovers Evidence from a Sample of R&D Laboratories

  • James D. Adams

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180-3590, USA)

This paper presents new evidence on the practice of industrial Research and Development (R&D), especially the allocation between learning and internal research, and the role of outside knowledge, as represented by R&D spillovers, in reshaping this allocation. The evidence describes the sources of outside knowledge, portrays the flow of that knowledge into firms, and interprets the channels by which outside knowledge influences R&D. The empirical work is based on a sample of 220 R&D laboratories owned by 115 firms in the U.S. chemicals, machinery, electrical equipment, and motor vehicles industries. The findings are consistent with the view that universities and firms generate technological opportunities in R&D laboratories. In addition to partnerships that define rather strict channels of opportunity, the paper uncovers broader effects of R&D spillovers. The results also suggest that academic spillovers drive learning about universities, and that industrial spillovers drive learning about industry. In this way externally derived opportunities reshape the rate and direction of R&D. Overall the findings paint an image of practitioners of industrial R&D reaching aggressively for opportunities, rather than waiting for opportunities to come to them.

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File URL: http://www.economics.rpi.edu/workingpapers/rpi0409.pdf
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Paper provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics in its series Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics with number 0409.

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Date of creation: Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:rpi:rpiwpe:0409
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.economics.rpi.edu/
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  1. William W. Gould & Jeffrey Pitblado & Brian Poi, 2010. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation with Stata," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 4, number ml4, November.
  2. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
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  9. Richard Nelson, 1962. "The Link Between Science and Invention: The Case of the Transistor," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 549-584 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mansfield, Edwin, 1985. "How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 217-23, December.
  11. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1973. "Transcendental Logarithmic Production Frontiers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(1), pages 28-45, February.
  12. Scherer, F M, 1982. "Inter-Industry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 627-34, November.
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