Does Intellectual Capital Affect Business Performance?

Michele Di Marcantonio, Enrico Laghi, Marco Mattei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of intellectual capital (IC) on firms’ financial performance with reference to a sample of companies operating in the European Union (EU) area during the period from 2006 to 2013. The analyses are further differentiated by country of domicile, industry sector, and historical period (pre-crisis and crisis). We investigate whether the value of the components of IC is a relevant factor that influences firms’ performance, proposing and testing a modified version of the value added intellectual capital (VAIC) model which also considers country-specific differences in terms of default risk. The empirical results evidence the relevance of the information on IC disclosed by companies. Differences arise depending on the reference country, industry, and historical period examined. The main limitations of the research are the unbalanced structure of the sample among countries and industries and the specificity of the examined sample (listed firms applying IAS/IFRS system). The main implication of the study is that, since we demonstrate the value relevance of IC, our findings could be of interest for standard setters for defining a standard (qualitative and quantitative) level of information on human resources to be disclosed by companies in their financial statements. Our contribution to the literature is the proposal of some relevant modifications to the original VAIC model and providing new evidence on the influence that IC had in recent years on business performance in the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-531
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • accounting standards
  • business performance
  • country-specific factors
  • financial accounting
  • human capital (HC)
  • intellectual capital (IC)


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