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The risks of innovation : are innovating firms less likely to die ?

  • Fernandes, Ana M.
  • Paunov, Caroline

While innovation is a source of competitiveness, it may expose plants to survival risks. Using a rich set of plant-product data for Chilean manufacturing plants during the period 1996-2006 and discrete-time hazard models controlling for unobserved plant heterogeneity, this paper shows that innovating plants have higher survival odds. However, risk plays an important role for the innovation-survival link: only innovators that retain diversified sources of revenues survive longer. Single-product innovators are at greater risk of exiting. In addition, only innovators facing lower market risk, measured by fewer innovative competitors, low-pricing strategies, or lower sales volatility in the new products'markets, see their odds of survival increase significantly. Technical risk, measured by the proximity of product innovations to the plants'past expertise, the degree of sophistication of new products, or their novelty to the Chilean market, does not play a substantial role in the innovation-survival link. Engaging in risky innovation is not an irrational decision, since plants reap big payoffs -- higher productivity, employment and sales growth -- from such innovations. However, those payoffs are not always higher than those from cautious innovation, suggesting that constraining factors, such as credit constraints, force plants to take on more risk when innovating. An implication of the findings for industry dynamics is that among innovators, only the survival of cautious innovators is guaranteed. Since engaging in cautious innovation may not be feasible for all plants, there could be a role for policy in reducing innovators'exposure to risks and providing assistance to deal with failed innovations, while setting the right incentives.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6103.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6103
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  1. Fernandes, Ana M. & Paunov, Caroline, 2012. "Foreign direct investment in services and manufacturing productivity: Evidence for Chile," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 305-321.
  2. Gustavo Crespi & Pluvia Zuniga, 2010. "Innovation and Productivity - Evidence from Six Latin American Countries," Research Department Publications 4690, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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  6. Hiroyuki Kasahara & Joel Rodrigue, 2005. "Does the Use of Imported Intermediates Increase Productivity? Plant-Level Evidence," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20057, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
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  8. Harald Strotmann, 2007. "Entrepreneurial Survival," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 87-104, January.
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  14. Silviano Esteve-Pérez & Vicente Pallardó-López & Francisco Requena-Silvente, 2011. "The duration of firm-destination export relationships: Evidence from Spain, 1997-2006," Working Papers 1102, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
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  18. Shiferaw, Admasu, 2009. "Survival of Private Sector Manufacturing Establishments in Africa: The Role of Productivity and Ownership," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 572-584, March.
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  22. Fernandes, Ana M. & Paunov, Caroline, 2009. "Does tougher import competition foster product quality upgrading ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4894, The World Bank.
  23. Kjell G. Salvanes & Ragnar Tveteras, 2004. "Plant Exit, Vintage Capital and the Business Cycle," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 255-276, 06.
  24. Jarreau, Joachim & Poncet, Sandra, 2012. "Export sophistication and economic growth: Evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 281-292.
  25. Lucas Navarro, 2012. "Plant level evidence on product mix changes in Chilean manufacturing," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 165-195, February.
  26. Paunov, Caroline, 2012. "The global crisis and firms’ investments in innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 24-35.
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