IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpma/0306007.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

R&D? A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Diego Comin

    (New York University)

Abstract

In this paper I evaluate the contribution of R&D investments to productivity growth. The basis for the analysis are the free entry condition and the fact that most R&D innovations are embodied. Free entry yields a relationship between the resources devoted to R&D and the growth rate of technology. Since innovators are small, this relationship is not directly affected by the size of the R&D externalities, or the presence of aggregate diminishing returns in R&D after controlling for the growth rate of output and the interest rate. The embodiment of R&D- driven innovations bounds the size of the production externalities. The resulting contribution of R&D to productivity growth in the US is smaller than three to five tenths of one percentage point. This constitutes an upper bound for the case where innovators internalize the consequences of their R&D investments on the cost of conducting future innovations. From a normative perspective, this analysis implies that, if the innovation technology takes the form assumed in the literature, the actual US R&D intensity may be the socially optimal.

Suggested Citation

  • Diego Comin, 2003. "R&D? A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth," Macroeconomics 0306007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0306007
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP;
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/mac/papers/0306/0306007.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Nancy L. Stokey, 1995. "R&D and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 469-489.
    3. John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 141-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Susanto Basu, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-751.
    5. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-918, December.
    6. Norrbin, Stefan C, 1993. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry: A Contradiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1149-1164, December.
    7. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    8. Charles I. Jones & John C. Williams, 1998. "Measuring the Social Return to R&D," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1119-1135.
    9. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    10. Charles I. Jones, 2002. "Sources of U.S. Economic Growth in a World of Ideas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 220-239, March.
    11. Diego Comin, 2004. "R&D: A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-421, December.
    12. Nadiri, M.I., 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," Working Papers 93-31, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    13. Pakes, Ariel & Schankerman, Mark A., 1978. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Knowledge, Research Gestation Labs, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," Working Papers 78-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    14. Helios Herrera & Enrique Schroth, 2003. "Profitable Innovation Without Patent Protection: The Case of Derivatives," Working Papers 0302, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    15. Kortum, Samuel, 1993. "Equilibrium R&D and the Patent-R&D Ratio: U.S. Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 450-457, May.
    16. 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.
    17. R. C. O. Matthews, 1964. ""The New View of Investment": Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 164-172.
    18. E. S. Phelps & M. E. Yaari, 1964. ""The New View of Investment": Reply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 172-176.
    19. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1984. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Patents, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Chapters,in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 73-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Research and Development; productivity growth; total factor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0306007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.