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Assessing the Returns to Collaborative Research: Firm-Level Evidence from Italy

  • Giuseppe Medda


    (University of Cagliari, Italy)

  • Claudio Piga


    (Business School, University of Nottingham, UK)

  • Donald S. Siegel


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

We use firm-level data from Italian manufacturing firms to assess the relationship between various types of R&D and total factor productivity growth, including collaborative research with other firms and universities. A novel twist to our empirical analysis is that we estimate a treatment effects model, which enables us to treat the decision to conduct R&D as endogenous. We find strong evidence of positive returns to collaborative research with companies, while collaborative research with universities does not appear to enhance productivity. This result implies that firms may conduct R&D with universities when appropriability conditions are weak and the outcomes of such research projects do not yield direct strategic benefits.

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Paper provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics in its series Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics with number 0416.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rpi:rpiwpe:0416
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  1. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Veugelers, Reinhilde, 1997. "Internal R & D expenditures and external technology sourcing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-315, October.
  3. Bronwyn H. Hall & Albert N. Link & John T. Scott, 2003. "Universities as Research Partners," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 485-491, May.
  4. 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.
  5. Klette, Tor Jakob & Kortum, Samuel, 2002. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," Memorandum 02/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  6. Vella, Francis & Verbeek, Marno, 1999. "Estimating and Interpreting Models with Endogenous Treatment Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(4), pages 473-78, October.
  7. Tether, Bruce S., 2002. "Who co-operates for innovation, and why: An empirical analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 947-967, August.
  8. M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Returns to Research and Development Expenditures in the Private Sector," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 49-81 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. C. Piga & M. Vivarelli, 2003. "Sample selection in estimating the determinants of cooperative R&D," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 243-246.
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  12. Ariel Pakes & Zvi Griliches, 1980. "Patents and R and D at the Firm Level: A First Look," NBER Working Papers 0561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  14. Griliches, Zvi & Mairesse, Jacques, 1983. "Comparing productivity growth: An exploration of french and U.S. industrial and firm data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 89-119.
  15. Kamien, Morton I. & Zang, Israel, 2000. "Meet me halfway: research joint ventures and absorptive capacity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 995-1012, October.
  16. James Love & Stephen Roper, 2002. "Internal Versus External R&D: A Study of R&D Choice with Sample Selection," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 239-255.
  17. Donald Siegel, 1997. "The Impact Of Computers On Manufacturing Productivity Growth: A Multiple-Indicators, Multiple-Causes Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 68-78, February.
  18. Bronwyn H. Hall & Albert N. Link & John T. Scott, 2001. "Barriers Inhibiting Industry from Partnering with Universities: Evidence from the Advanced Technology Program," Development and Comp Systems 0012003, EconWPA.
  19. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  20. Bart Los & Bart Verspagen, 2000. "R&D spillovers and productivity: Evidence from U.S. manufacturing microdata," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 127-148.
  21. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  22. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse, 1992. "Exploring the Relationship Between R&D and Productivity in French Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 3956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Claudio A . Piga & Marco Vivarelli, 2004. "Internal and External R&D: A Sample Selection Approach," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(4), pages 457-482, 09.
  24. Claudio Piga, 2002. "Debt and Firms' Relationships: The Italian Evidence," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 267-282, May.
  25. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  26. Loof, Hans & Heshmati, Almas, 2002. "Knowledge capital and performance heterogeneity: : A firm-level innovation study," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 61-85, March.
  27. Cockburn, Iain M & Henderson, Rebecca M, 1998. "Absorptive Capacity, Coauthoring Behavior, and the Organization of Research in Drug Discovery," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 157-82, June.
  28. Rinaldo Evangelista & Simona Iammarino & Valeria Mastrostefano & Alberto Silvani, 2002. "Looking for Regional Systems of Innovation: Evidence from the Italian Innovation Survey," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 173-186.
  29. Nadiri, M.I., 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," Working Papers 93-31, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  30. Siegel, Donald S. & Waldman, David & Link, Albert, 2003. "Assessing the impact of organizational practices on the relative productivity of university technology transfer offices: an exploratory study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 27-48, January.
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  34. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Link, Albert N, 1981. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing: Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1111-12, December.
  36. Paul, Catherine J Morrison & Siegel, Donald S, 2001. " The Impacts of Technology, Trade and Outsourcing on Employment and Labor Composition," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(2), pages 241-64, June.
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