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Absorptive capacity and post-acquisition inventor productivity

  • Hussinger, Katrin

Inventors often experience a low productivity after their company has been subject to a merger or acquisition (M&As). It is of central managerial interest to identify factors facilitating the integration of new inventive staff and thereby counteracting innovation declines after M&As. This paper provides empirical evidence into the role of acquiring firms' absorptive capacity for the post-merger patent productivity of the acquired inventors. Based on a sample of 544 inventors employed by European acquisition targets in the period 2000-2001 it is shown that the post-merger productivity of acquired inventors is significantly higher within acquiring firms with a distinct absorptive capacity. It can be concluded that absorptive capacity is a firm capability that enhances the integration of inventors after firm takeovers.

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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 10-066.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10066
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  1. Melamed, Ran & Shiff, Gil & Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2006. "The 'Names Game': Harnessing Inventors Patent Data for Economic Research," CEPR Discussion Papers 5833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bronwyn H. Hall, 1990. "The Manufacturing Sector Master File: 1959-1987," NBER Working Papers 3366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Fabrizio, Kira R., 2009. "Absorptive capacity and the search for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 255-267, March.
  6. Karin Hoisl, 2009. "Does mobility increase the productivity of inventors?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 212-225, April.
  7. Ravenscraft, David J & Scherer, F M, 1987. "Life after Takeover," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 147-56, December.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Puranam, Phanish & Singh, Harbir & Zollo, Maurizio, 2003. "A Bird in the Hand or Two in the Bush?: Integration Trade-offs in Technology-grafting Acquisitions," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 179-184, April.
  10. Jaeyong Song & Paul Almeida & Geraldine Wu, 2003. "Learning--by--Hiring: When Is Mobility More Likely to Facilitate Interfirm Knowledge Transfer?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 351-365, April.
  11. Ornaghi, Carmine, 2009. "Mergers and innovation in big pharma," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 70-79, January.
  12. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Eric von Hippel, 1994. ""Sticky Information" and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(4), pages 429-439, April.
  14. Cockburn, Iain M & Henderson, Rebecca M, 1998. "Absorptive Capacity, Coauthoring Behavior, and the Organization of Research in Drug Discovery," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 157-82, June.
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