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Industrial Research During the 1980s: Did the Rate of Return Fall?

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  • Bronwyn H. Hall.

Abstract

Hall (1993b) found that the market value of corporate R&D; relative to ordinary capital investment fell precipitously during the 1980s. The present paper examines this result more closely and finds that it was due both to an increase in the value of ordinary capital and to a steep decline in the absolute value of R&D; assets. The latter was concentrated in the electrical, scientific instruments, electronics, and computing sectors. Firm-level productivity results show that the contribution of R&D; to sales or output growth was low during the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s but has increased recently, except in the electrical industry and in the large firm part of the computing, machinery, metals, and motor vehicle industries. The overall explanation for these findings is that the very substantial restructuring of the manufacturing sector during the 1980s raised the valuation of ordinary capital (and of R&D; capital in the medium-technology sectors). At the same time entry by smaller firms and new technology coupled with a speed-up in product cycles eroded the profits in the electrical and computing sectors, leading to a substantial decline in the valuation of these profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Bronwyn H. Hall., 1993. "Industrial Research During the 1980s: Did the Rate of Return Fall?," Economics Working Papers 93-217, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:93-217
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    1. Cockburn, Iain & Griliches, Zvi, 1988. "Industry Effects and Appropriability Measures in the Stock Market's Valuation of R&D and Patents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 419-423, May.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Comparing Productivity Growth: An Exploration of French and U.S. Industrial and Firm Data," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 157-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bronwyn H. Hall & Clint Cumminq & Elizabeth S. Laderman & Joy Mundy, 1988. "The R&D Master File Documentation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. M. Ishaq Nadiri & George C. Bitros, 1980. "Research and Development Expenditures and Labor Productivity at the Firm Level: A Dynamic Model," NBER Chapters,in: New Developments in Productivity Measurement, pages 387-418 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lichtenberg, Frank R. & Siegel, Donald, 1990. "The effects of leveraged buyouts on productivity and related aspects of firm behavior," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 165-194, September.
    6. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
    7. Bernard S. Black, 1992. "Institutional Investors And Corporate Governance: The Case For Institutional Voice," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 5(3), pages 19-32.
    8. Jacques Mairesse & Mohamed Sassenou, 1991. "R&D Productivity: A Survey of Econometric Studies at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 3666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Schankerman, Mark, 1981. "The Effects of Double-Counting and Expensing on the Measured Returns to R&D," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 454-458, August.
    10. Hayashi, Fumio & Inoue, Tohru, 1991. "The Relation between Firm Growth and Q with Multiple Capital Goods: Theory and Evidence from Panel Data on Japanese Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 731-753, May.
    11. John Bound & Clint Cummins & Zvi Griliches & Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam B. Jaffe, 1984. "Who Does R&D and Who Patents?," NBER Chapters,in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 21-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Philippe Cuneo & Jacques Mairesse, 1984. "Productivity and R&D at the Firm Level in French Manufacturing," NBER Chapters,in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 375-392 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Michael C. Jensen, 1991. "Corporate Control And The Politics Of Finance," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 4(2), pages 13-34.
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