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Industrial R&D Laboratories: Windows on Black Boxes?


  • James D. Adams

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


This paper provides an overview of the survey-based literature on industrial Research and Development (R&D) laboratories, beginning with the work of Edwin Mansfield. Topics covered include R&D projects, new products, and new processes; the appropriability of intellectual property; the limits of the firm in R&D; and spillovers of knowledge from other firms and universities into the laboratories. I discuss the value of collecting information from industrial R&D managers, who participate in a wide range of R&D decisions and are the natural best source of information on these decisions. I also emphasize gaps in our knowledge concerning R&D from past studies, such as the private and social returns to R&D, the nature of firms' R&D portfolios, and other topics. The paper closes with a discussion of the benefits from building a national database on R&D laboratories that could be shared among researchers and that could take this area of research to a new and higher level of achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • James D. Adams, 2004. "Industrial R&D Laboratories: Windows on Black Boxes?," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0419, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpi:rpiwpe:0419

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rebecca Henderson & Iain Cockburn, 1996. "Scale, Scope, and Spillovers: The Determinants of Research Productivity in Drug Discovery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 32-59, Spring.
    2. Bizan, Oded, 2003. "The determinants of success of R&D projects: evidence from American-Israeli research alliances," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1619-1640, October.
    3. David J. Teece, 2008. "Technology Transfer By Multinational Firms: The Resource Cost Of Transferring Technological Know-How," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Transfer And Licensing Of Know-How And Intellectual Property Understanding the Multinational Enterprise in the Modern World, chapter 1, pages 1-22 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Levin, Richard C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1995. "On the sources and significance of interindustry differences in technological opportunities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 185-205, March.
    5. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-970, December.
    6. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Linn, 2004. "Market Size in Innovation: Theory and Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1049-1090.
    8. James D. Adams & Mircea Marcu, 2004. "R&D Sourcing, Joint Ventures and Innovation: A Multiple Indicators Approach," NBER Working Papers 10474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Cockburn, Iain & Henderson, Rebecca, 1994. "Racing to Invest? The Dynamics of Competition in Ethical Drug Discovery," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 481-519, Fall.
    10. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    11. Pierre Azoulay, 2003. "Acquiring Knowledge Within and Across Firm Boundaries: Evidence from Clinical Development," NBER Working Papers 10083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Arora, Ashish, 1996. "Contracting for tacit knowledge: the provision of technical services in technology licensing contracts," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 233-256, August.
    13. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
    14. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "The Search for R&D Spillovers," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 251-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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, Specia), pages 783-832.
    16. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heyman Fredrik & Tingvall Patrik Gustavsson, 2015. "The Dynamics of Offshoring and Institutions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(4), pages 1975-2016, October.
    2. Stephan Hess & Roland Siegwart, 2013. "R&D Venture: proposition of a technology transfer concept for breakthrough technologies with R&D cooperation: A case study in the energy sector," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 153-179, April.

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