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Reviving demand-pull perspectives: The effect of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on R&D strategy

Author

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  • José García-Quevedo

    (Barcelona Institute of Economics, University of Barcelona, Barcelona)

  • Gabriele Pellegrino

    (Barcelona Institute of Economics, University of Barcelona, Barcelona)

  • Maria Savona

    (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK)

Abstract

This paper looks at the effects of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on firms’ decisions to engage in R&D activities and the amount of financial effort devoted to such activities. In so doing, the paper makes a number of contributions to the innovation literature: first, it adds to the recently revived debate on demand-pull perspectives in innovation studies by examining demand-related (lack of) incentives to invest in innovation. Second, it complements the emerging literature on barriers to innovation by focusing on demand-related obstacles rather than on the more frequently explored financial barriers. Third, it analyses whether experiencing uncertainty or lack of demand is a sector-specific feature. Firms active in high- or low-tech manufacturing or in knowledge intensive or low-tech services might be more or less dependent on demand conditions when deciding to perform R&D. We find that uncertain demand and lack of demand are perceived as two quite distinct barriers. While demand uncertainty does not seem to constrain R&D efforts, the perception of a lack of demand has a marked impact on not only the amount of investment in R&D but also the likelihood of firms engaging in R&D activities. We interpret this evidence in terms of the specific phase in the innovation cycle in which decisions to invest in R&D are taken. Sectoral affiliation does not seem to be a factor in demand conditions, supporting the conjecture that positive expectations regarding market demand are structural and necessary conditions that have to be satisfied for all firms prior to their investing in R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • José García-Quevedo & Gabriele Pellegrino & Maria Savona, 2014. "Reviving demand-pull perspectives: The effect of demand uncertainty and stagnancy on R&D strategy," SPRU Working Paper Series 2014-09, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:2014-09
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    4. Heijs, Joost & Guerrero, Alex J. & Huergo, Elena, 2020. "Matching methods for impact evaluation of public subsidies to business R&D: Measuring heterogeneous effects," MPRA Paper 103874, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Rachel Bocquet & Christian Le Bas & Caroline Mothe & Nicolas Poussing, 2017. "CSR, Innovation, and Firm Performance in Sluggish Growth Contexts: A Firm-Level Empirical Analysis," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 241-254, November.
    6. Jose García-Quevedo & Francisco Mas-Verdú & Gabriele Pellegrino, 2017. "What firms don’t know can hurt them: Overcoming a lack of information on technology," Working Papers 2017/19, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. Dragana Radicic, 2021. "Financial and Non-Financial Barriers to Innovation and the Degree of Radicalness," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(4), pages 1-15, February.
    8. Alex Coad & Agustí Segarra-Blasco & Mercedes Teruel, 2021. "A bit of basic, a bit of applied? R&D strategies and firm performance," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 46(6), pages 1758-1783, December.
    9. Giovanni Marin & Alberto Marzucchi & Roberto Zoboli, 2015. "SMEs and barriers to Eco-innovation in the EU: exploring different firm profiles," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 671-705, July.
    10. Ortiz, Rodrigo & Fernandez, Viviana, 2022. "Business perception of obstacles to innovate: Evidence from Chile with pseudo-panel data analysis," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C).
    11. Davide Antonioli & Alberto Marzucchi & Maria Savona, 2017. "Pain shared, pain halved? Cooperation as a coping strategy for innovation barriers," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 841-864, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D strategy; Barriers to innovation; Demand uncertainty; Lack of demand; Innovative inputs; Panel data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • 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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