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The Innovation and Imitation Dichotomy in Spanish firms: do absorptive capacity and the technological frontier matter?

  • Verònica Gombau

    ()

    (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Departament d’Economia, CREIP, XREAP, Grup de Recerca d’Indústria i Territori, Av. Universitat, 1, 43204 Reus, Spain)

  • Agustí Segarra

    ()

    (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Departament d’Economia, CREIP, XREAP, Grup de Recerca d’Indústria i Territori, Av. Universitat, 1, 43204 Reus, Spain)

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    This paper analyses whether a firm’s absorptive capacity and its distance from the technological frontier affect the choice between innovation and imitation in innovative Spanish firms. From an extensive survey of 5,575 firms during the 2004-2009 period, we found two significant results. With regard to the role of absorptive capacity, the empirical evidence shows that when innovative firms have difficulties in accessing external information and hire skilled workers, their innovative capacity is reduced. Meanwhile, with regard to distance from the technological frontier, the firms that reduce this gap manage to increase their innovative capacity at the expense of imitation. To summarise, when we studied firms’ absorptive capacity and their relative position to the technological frontier in tandem, we found that the two factors directly affected firms' ability to innovate or imitate.

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    File URL: http://www.pcb.ub.edu/xreap/aplicacio/fitxers/XREAP2011-22.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2011
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    File URL: http://www.pcb.ub.edu/xreap/aplicacio/fitxers/XREAP2011-22.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2011
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    Paper provided by Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP) in its series Working Papers with number XREAP2011-22.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2011
    Date of revision: Dec 2011
    Handle: RePEc:xrp:wpaper:xreap2011-22
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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, 03.
    2. repec:urv:wpaper:2072/169683 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Chapter 11 Technological change and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 461-516 Elsevier.
    4. Arbussa, Anna & Coenders, Germa, 2007. "Innovation activities, use of appropriation instruments and absorptive capacity: Evidence from Spanish firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1545-1558, December.
    5. Marta Arespa, 2011. "Macroeconomics of extensive margins: a simple model," Working Papers XREAP2011-19, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Nov 2011.
    6. Vandenbussche, Jérôme & Aghion, Philippe & Meghir, Costas, 2006. "Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital," Scholarly Articles 12490648, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    7. Marta Arespa, 2011. "A New Open Economy Macroeconomic Model with Endogenous Portfolio Diversifi cation and Firms Entry," Working Papers XREAP2011-15, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Oct 2011.
    8. Alex Coad, 2008. "Distance to Frontier and Appropriate Business Strategy," DRUID Working Papers 08-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    9. Juan Luís Jiménez & Jordi Perdiguero, 2009. "(No)competition in the Spanish retailing gasoline market: a variance filter approach," Working Papers XREAP2009-05, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised May 2009.
    10. Polterovich, Victor & Tonis, Alexander, 2005. "Innovation and Imitation at Various Stages of Development: A Model with Capital," MPRA Paper 20067, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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