Empirical Economics

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 817–839 | Cite as

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

  • Raquel Ortega-ArgilésEmail author
  • Lesley Potters
  • Marco Vivarelli


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.


R&D Productivity Knowledge stock Panel data Perpetual inventory method 

JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel Ortega-Argilés
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lesley Potters
    • 2
  • Marco Vivarelli
    • 3
  1. 1.IN+ Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy ResearchInstituto Superior Técnico ISTLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Utrecht School of EconomicsUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Facoltà di EconomiaUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuorePiacenzaItaly

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