R&D and productivity: Testing sectoral peculiarities using micro data

R. Ortega-Argilés, Lesley Potters, Marco Vivarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between a firm’s R&D activities and its productivity using a unique micro data panel dataset and looking at sectoral peculiarities which may emerge; more specifically, we used an unbalanced longitudinal database consisting of 532 top European R&D investors over the 6-year period 2000–2005. Our main findings can be summarised along the following lines: knowledge stock has a significant positive impact on a firm’s productivity, with an overall elasticity of about 0.104; this general result is largely consistent with previous literature in terms of the sign, the significance and the estimated magnitude of the relevant coefficient. More interestingly, the coefficient increases monotonically when we move from the low-tech to the medium-high and high-tech sectors, ranging from a minimum of 0.03/0.05 to a maximum of 0.14/0.17. This outcome suggests that firms in high-tech sectors are still far ahead in terms of the impact on productivity of their R&D investments, at least as regards top European R&D investors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-839
Number of pages23
JournalEmpirical Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2010


  • knowledge stock
  • panel data
  • perpetual inventory method
  • productivity
  • R&D


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