The productivity impact of R&D investment: are high-tech sectors still ahead?

Mariacristina Piva, Marco Vivarelli, Raquel Ortega-Argilés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Our aim is to investigate the relationship between a firm's R&D expenditures and its productivity, looking at sectoral peculiarities. We use a unique longitudinal database consisting of 1809 US and European manufacturing and service firms over the period 1990–2008. Our main findings can be summarised as follows. Consistently with previous literature, the knowledge stock has a significant positive impact on a firm's productivity. More interestingly, the coefficient turns out to be significantly larger in the R&D-user services and high-tech manufacturing sectors than in the non-high-tech manufacturing sectors. Contrary to the ‘latecomer advantage’ approach, these outcomes suggest that firms in high-tech sectors are still ahead in terms of impact on productivity of R&D investments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-222
Number of pages19
Volume24, n.3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Productivity
  • R&D
  • knowledge stock
  • panel data


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