Industrial R&D Laboratories: Windows on Black Boxes?
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.
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