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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details

Ugur, M., Trushin, E., Solomon, E. & Guidi, F. (2016). R&D and productivity in OECD firms and industries: A hierarchical meta-regression analysis. Research Policy 45(10): 2069-2086.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The relationship between R&D investment and firm/industry productivity has been investigated widely following seminal contributions by Zvi Griliches and others from late 1970s onwards. We aim to provide a systematic synthesis of the evidence, using 1253 estimates from 65 primary studies that adopt the so-called primal approach. In line with prior reviews, we report that the average elasticity and rate-of-return estimates are positive. In contrast to prior reviews, however, we report that: (i) the estimates are smaller and more heterogeneous than what has been reported before; (ii) residual heterogeneity remains high among firm-level estimates even after controlling for moderating factors; (iii) firm-level rates of return and within-industry social returns to R&D are small and do not differ significantly despite theoretical predictions of higher social returns; and (iv) the informational content of both elasticity and rate-of-return estimates needs to be interpreted cautiously. We conclude by highlighting the implications of these findings for future research and evidence-based policy.