nep-tid New Economics Papers
on Technology and Industrial Dynamics
Issue of 2016‒12‒04
ten papers chosen by
Fulvio Castellacci
Universitetet i Oslo

  1. Employment Effects of Innovations over the Business Cycle: Firm-Level Evidence from European Countries By Bernhard Dachs; Martin Hud; Christian Köhler; Bettina Peters
  2. Production Networks By Kenan Huremovic; Fernando Vega-Redondo
  3. Growth through Heterogeneous Innovations By Akcigit, Ufuk; Kerr, William R.
  4. The Global Diffusion of Ideas By Ezra Oberfield; Francisco Buera
  5. The Best versus the Rest: The Global Productivity Slowdown, Divergence across Firms and the Role of Public Policy By Dan Andrews; Chiara Criscuolo; Peter N. Gal
  6. Patents and cumulative innovation: causal evidence from the courts By Alberto Galasso; Mark Schankerman
  7. Foreign Competition and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from U.S. Patents By Autor, David; Dorn, David; Hanson, Gordon; Pisano, Gary; Shu, Pian
  8. Comparing apples to apples: A new indicator of research and development investment intensity in agriculture: By Nin-Pratt, Alejandro
  9. Innovation and Export-market Participation in Canadian Manufacturing By Dar-Brodeur, Afshan; Baldwin, John R.; Yan, Beiling
  10. General Methods for Measuring Factor Misallocation By Thomas Schelkle

  1. By: Bernhard Dachs (Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna); Martin Hud (ZEW Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim); Christian Köhler (ZEW Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim); Bettina Peters (ZEW, Mannheim, and CREA, University of Luxembourg)
    Abstract: A growing literature investigates how firms’ innovation input reacts to changes in the business cycle. However, so far there is no evidence whether there is cyclicality in the effects of innovation on firm performance as well. In this paper, we investigate the employment effects of innovations over the business cycle. Our analysis employs a large data set of manufacturing firms from 26 European countries over the period from 1998 to 2010. Using the structural model of Harrison et al. (2014), our empirical analysis reveals four important findings: First, the net effect of product innovation on employment growth is pro-cyclical. It turns out to be positive in all business cycle phases except for the recession. Second, product innovators are more resilient to recessions than non-product innovators. Even during recessions they are able to substitute demand losses from old products by demand gains of new products to a substantial degree. As a result their net employment losses are significantly lower in recessions than those of non-product innovators. Third, we only find resilience for SMEs but not for large firms. Fourth, process and organizational innovations displace labor primarily during upturn and downturn periods.
    Keywords: Innovation, employment, business cycle, resilience, Europe.
    JEL: O33 J23 C26 D2
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Kenan Huremovic (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales); Fernando Vega-Redondo (Bocconi University & IGIER)
    Abstract: In this paper, we model the economy as a production network of competitive firms that interact in a general-equilibrium setup. First, we find that, at the unique Walrasian equilibrium, the profit of each active firm is proportional to (a suitable generalization of) its Bonacich centrality. We also determine consumer welfare at equilibrium and characterize efficient networks. Then we proceed to conduct a broad range of comparative-static analyses. These include the effect on profits and welfare of: (a) distortions (e.g. tax/subsidies) imposed on the whole economy or specific firms; (b) structural changes such as the addition of links and the elimination of nodes; (c) productivity and preference changes. We discover that the induced effects are in general nonmonotone, depend on global network features, and impinge on each sector depending on the pattern of incentralities displayed by its input providers and output users. Furthermore, the inter-sector “linkages” underlying these effects can usually be decomposed – following the heuristic dichotomy proposed by Hirschman (1958) – into a forward (push) component and a backward (pull) one. Finally, we undertake some preliminary analysis of firm dynamics and illustrate that, when evaluating policies of support and shock mitigation from a dynamic viewpoint, the reliance on strict market-based criteria can be quite misleading in terms of social welfare.
    Keywords: production,networks,distortions,centrality,profit
    Date: 2016–09
  3. By: Akcigit, Ufuk; Kerr, William R.
    Abstract: We build a tractable growth model where multi-product incumbents invest in internal innovations to improve their existing products, while new entrants and incumbents invest in external innovations to acquire new product lines. External and internal innovations generate heterogeneous innovation qualities, and firm size affects innovation incentives. This framework allows us to analyze how different types of innovation contribute to economic growth and how the firm size distribution can have important consequences for the types of innovations realized. Our model aligns with many observed empirical regularities, and we quantify our framework by matching Census Bureau operating data with patent data for U.S. firms. We observe that internal innovation scales moderately faster with firm size than external innovation.
    Keywords: Citations; Endogenous Growth; Entrepreneurs.; External; innovation; Internal; patents; Research and Development; Scientists
    JEL: L16 O31 O33 O41
    Date: 2016–11
  4. By: Ezra Oberfield (Princeton University); Francisco Buera (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)
    Abstract: We provide a tractable theory of innovation and technology diffusion to explore the role of international trade in the process of development. We model innovation and diffusion as a process involving the combination of new ideas with insights from other industries or countries. We provide conditions under which each country’s equilibrium frontier of knowledge converges to a Frechet distribution, and derive a system of differ- ential equations describing the evolution of the scale parameters of these distributions, i.e., countries’ stocks of knowledge. In particular, the growth of a country’s stock of knowledge depends only on its trade shares and the stocks of knowledge of its trading partners. We use the framework to quantify the contribution of bilateral trade costs to cross-sectional TFP differences, long-run changes in TFP, and individual post-war growth miracles.
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Dan Andrews; Chiara Criscuolo; Peter N. Gal
    Abstract: In this paper, we aim to bring the debate on the global productivity slowdown – which has largely been conducted from a macroeconomic perspective – to a more micro-level. We show that a particularly striking feature of the productivity slowdown is not so much a lower productivity growth at the global frontier, but rather rising labour productivity at the global frontier coupled with an increasing labour productivity divergence between the global frontier and laggard (non-frontier) firms. This productivity divergence remains after controlling for differences in capital deepening and mark-up behaviour, suggesting that divergence in measured multi-factor productivity (MFP) may in fact reflect technological divergence in a broad sense. This divergence could plausibly reflect the potential for structural changes in the global economy – namely digitalisation, globalisation and the rising importance of tacit knowledge – to fuel rapid productivity gains at the global frontier. Yet, aggregate MFP performance was significantly weaker in industries where MFP divergence was more pronounced, suggesting that the divergence observed is not solely driven by frontier firms pushing the boundary outward. We contend that increasing MFP divergence – and the global productivity slowdown more generally – could reflect a slowdown in the diffusion process. This could be a reflection of increasing costs for laggard firms of moving from an economy based on production to one based on ideas. But it could also be symptomatic of rising entry barriers and a decline in the contestability of markets. We find the rise in MFP divergence to be much more extreme in sectors where pro-competitive product market reforms were least extensive, suggesting that policy weaknesses may be stifling diffusion in OECD economies.
    Keywords: firm dynamics, knowledge diffusion, productivity, regulation, technological change
    JEL: O43 O57 O30 O40 M13
    Date: 2016–12–02
  6. By: Alberto Galasso; Mark Schankerman
    Abstract: Cumulative innovation is central to economic growth. Do patent rights facilitate or impede follow-on innovation? We study the causal effect of removing patent rights by court invalidation on subsequent research related to the focal patent, as measured by later citations. We exploit random allocation of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to control for endogeneity of patent invalidation. Patent invalidation leads to a 50 percent increase in citations to the focal patent, on average, but the impact is heterogeneous and depends on characteristics of the bargaining environment. Patent rights block downstream innovation in computers, electronics and medical instruments, but not in drugs, chemicals or mechanical technologies. Moreover, the effect is entirely driven by invalidation of patents owned by large patentees that triggers more follow-on innovation by small firms.
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Autor, David; Dorn, David; Hanson, Gordon; Pisano, Gary; Shu, Pian
    Abstract: Manufacturing is the locus of U.S. innovation, accounting for more than three quarters of U.S. corporate patents. The rise of import competition from China has represented a major competitive shock to the sector, which in theory could benefit or stifle innovation. In this paper we empirically examine how rising import competition from China has affected U.S. innovation. We confront two empirical challenges in assessing the impact. We map all U.S. utility patents granted by March 2013 to firm-level data using a novel internet-based matching algorithm that corrects for a preponderance of false negatives when using firm names alone. And we contend with the fact that patenting is highly concentrated in certain product categories and that this concentration has been shifting over time. Accounting for secular trends in innovative activities, we find that the impact of the change in import exposure on the change in patents produced is strongly negative. It remains so once we add an extensive set of further industry- and firm-level controls. Rising import exposure also reduces global employment, global sales, and global R&D expenditure at the firm level. It would appear that a simple mechanism in which greater foreign competition induces U.S. manufacturing firms to contract their operations along multiple margins of activity goes a long way toward explaining the response of U.S. innovation to the China trade shock.
    Keywords: China; firms; import competition; innovation; patents; Trade
    Date: 2016–11
  8. By: Nin-Pratt, Alejandro
    Abstract: It has been apparent for more than a century that future economic progress in agriculture will be driven by the invention and application of new technologies resulting from expenditure in research and development (R&D) by governments and private firms. Nevertheless, it is conventional wisdom in the economic development literature that there is a significant underinvestment in agricultural R&D in developing countries. Evidence supporting this belief is provided, first by a vast literature showing returns on R&D expenditure to be so high as to justify levels of investment in multiples of those actually found, and second, from available data showing low research effort in developing countries as measured by the intensity ratio (IR), that is, the percentage of agricultural gross domestic product invested in agricultural R&D (excluding the for-profit private sector). This paper argues that the IR is an inadequate indicator to measure and compare the research efforts of a diverse group of countries and proposes an alternative index that allows meaningful comparisons between countries. The proposed index can be used to identify potential under-investors, determine intensity gaps, and quantify the R&D investment needed to close these gaps by comparing countries with similar characteristics. Results obtained using the new R&D intensity indicator with a sample of 88 countries show that the investment effort in developing countries is much higher than the one observed using the conventional IR measure. The new measure finds that countries like China, India, Brazil, and Kenya have similar levels of R&D intensity to those in the United States. To close the R&D intensity gap measured by the new index, developing countries will need to invest US$7.1 billion on top of the $21.4 billion invested on average during 2008–2011, an increase of 33 percent of total actual investment.
    Keywords: agricultural research, public expenditure, agricultural growth, economic growth, agricultural development,
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Dar-Brodeur, Afshan; Baldwin, John R.; Yan, Beiling
    Abstract: This paper asks whether research and development (R&D) drives the level of competitiveness required to successfully enter export markets and whether, in turn, participation in export markets increases R&D expenditures. Canadian non-exporters that subsequently entered export markets in the first decade of the 2000s are found to be not only larger and more productive, as has been reported for previous decades, but also more likely to have invested in R&D. Both extramural R&D expenditures (purchased from domestic and foreign suppliers) and intramural R&D expenditures (performed in-house) increase the ability of firms to penetrate export markets. Exporting also has a significant impact on subsequent R&D expenditures; exporters are more likely to start investing in R&D. Firms that began exporting increased the intensity of extramural R&D expenditures in the year in which exporting occurred.
    Keywords: Business performance and ownership, Manufacturing, Research and development, Science and technology
    Date: 2016–11–28
  10. By: Thomas Schelkle
    Abstract: The paper develops novel methods to measure the extend of factor misallocation. These rely on production functions being homogeneous, but not on specific parameterizations and partly not even on specific functional forms. This reduces the risk to incorrectly reject an efficient allocation. In an empirical application these general methods strongly reject an efficient capital and labor allocation across 473 six-digit U.S. manufacturing industries. Potential output gains of efficiently reallocating factors are between 22 and 64% of observed output. There is also evidence that misallocation increased substantially during the Great Recession with a sizeable contribution to the observed fall in manufacturing output.
    Keywords: Misallocation, factor allocation, test, bounds
    JEL: E23 D61 O11
    Date: 2016–11–28

This nep-tid issue is ©2016 by Fulvio Castellacci. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.