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The design paradox: the contribution of in-house and external design activities on product market performance

  • Czarnitzki, Dirk
  • Thorwarth, Susanne

This paper explores the contribution of design activities on product market performance of Belgian companies. While there is mounting evidence that design can be seen as a strategic tool to successfully spur sales of new product developments at the firm level, the topic of design innovation has not been linked to the open innovation concept yet. In this paper we empirically test whether design activities conducted in-house differ in their contribution to new product sales from externally acquired design. Using a large crosssection of manufacturing and service firms, we investigate the effects on sales of products new to the market and of imitation or significantly improved products of the firm. At first glance, we find the paradox that externally acquired design is not superior to in-house design activities. This effect is robust to several modifications of the model specification. As earlier literature on new technological developments in high-tech sectors, we argue, however, that external design may not affect the sales of market novelties as the "market news" may spill-over quickly to rivals through common customers and suppliers including external designers.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 09-068.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:09068
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  1. Almus, Matthias & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2001. "The effects of public R&D subsidies on firms' innovation activities: the case of Eastern Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-10, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  3. Lokshin, Boris & Belderbos, René & Carree, Martin, 2007. "The Productivity Effects of Internal and External R&D: Evidence From a Dynamic Panel Data Model," MERIT Working Papers 026, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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  11. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects of Multiple Treatments Under the Conditional Independence Assumption," IZA Discussion Papers 91, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Christian Rammer & Dirk Czarnitzki & Alfred Spielkamp, 2009. "Innovation success of non-R&D-performers: substituting technology by management in SMEs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 35-58, June.
  13. Teece, David J., 1986. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 285-305, December.
  14. Birgit Aschhoff & Tobias Schmidt, 2008. "Empirical Evidence on the Success of R&D Cooperation—Happy Together?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 41-62, August.
  15. Sanderson, Susan & Uzumeri, Mustafa, 1995. "Managing product families: The case of the Sony Walkman," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 761-782, September.
  16. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
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  19. Dirk Czarnitzki & Georg Licht, 2006. "Additionality of public R&D grants in a transition economy," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 14(1), pages 101-131, 03.
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