Intramural and external R&D: evidence for complementarity or substitutability

  • Dolores Añón Higón
  • Juan A. Máñez
  • Juan A. Sanchis-Llopis


The aim of this study is to ascertain the impact of two firm innovation strategies—namely, intramural R&D and external R&D, including either contracted R&D and import of technology, upon total factor productivity (TFP). In order to evaluate these effects we consider robust estimates of TFP through a GMM approach where we account for the diverse innovation strategies carried out by firms (intramural only, external only or both). Using data for Spanish manufacturing firms drawn from the Encuesta de Estrategias Empresariales (ESEE), over the period 1991–2014, our results suggest that inhouse R&D and external R&D are complementary strategies only for large firms in high tech sectors. For the rest of firms, both strategies turn out to be substitutive. Further, R&D strategies only offer a TFP premium to exporters. We find no positive synergies between in-house and external R&D for large exporters, while for small exporters both strategies are substitutes.


Intramural R&D External R&D Complementarity Substitutability TFP Internationalisation 

JEL numbers

D24 F14 F23 O32 



The authors acknowledge financial support from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Grants ECO2017-86793-R and ECO2014-55745-R) and from Generalitat Valenciana (Grant PROMETEOII/2014/054). Usual caveats apply.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Economics II and ERICESUniversitat de ValènciaValenciaSpain

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