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IT outsourcing - A source of innovation? Microeconometric evidence for Germany


  • Bertschek. Irene
  • Erdsiek, Daniel


Do firms sourcing out IT services redirect their resources to innovation activity? We attempt to answer this question by analysing a firm-level data set comprising 1453 firms from the German manufacturing and services sectors. Using different measures of IT outsourcing (ITO), the econometric estimations reveal a significant and U-shaped relationship between ITO and product innovation activity of manufacturing firms, and a significant and hump-shaped relationship between ITO and process innovation activity of services firms. A propensity score matching analysis takes account of reverse causality; the results underpin the relevance of ITO for services firms' realisation of process innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertschek. Irene & Erdsiek, Daniel, 2012. "IT outsourcing - A source of innovation? Microeconometric evidence for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-088, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:12088

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bettina Peters, 2009. "Persistence of innovation: stylised facts and panel data evidence," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 226-243, April.
    2. Holger Görg & Aoife Hanley, 2011. "Services Outsourcing And Innovation: An Empirical Investigation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 321-333, April.
    3. Laura Abramovsky & Rachel Griffith, 2006. "Outsourcing and Offshoring of Business Services: How Important is ICT?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 594-601, 04-05.
    4. Ohnemus, Jörg, 2007. "Does IT Outsourcing Increase Firm Success? An Empirical Assessment using Firm-Level Data," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-087, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Peukert, Christian, 2011. "External technology supply and client-side innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-082, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Ohnemus, Jörg, 2010. "IT outsourcing and employment growth at the firm level," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-108, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    7. Flaig, Gebhard & Stadler, Manfred, 1994. "Success Breeds Success. The Dynamics of the Innovation Process," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 55-68.
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    More about this item


    IT outsourcing; product innovation; process innovation; firm-level data;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives


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