The productivity effects of internal and external R&D: Evidence from a dynamic panel data model

Boris Lokshin, René Belderbos & M. Carree


We examine the impact of internal and external R&D on labor productivity in a 6-year panel of Dutch manufacturing firms. We apply a dynamic linear panel data model that allows for decreasing or increasing returns to scale in internal and external R&D and for economies of scope. We find complementarity between internal and external R&D, with a positive impact of external R&D only evident in case of sufficient internal R&D. These findings confirm the role of internal R&D in enhancing absorptive capacity and hence the effective utilization of external knowledge. The scope economies due the combination of internal and external R&D are accentuated by decreasing results to scale at high levels of internal and external R&D. The analysis indicates that on average productivity grows by increasing the share of external R&D in total R&D.

Keywords: R&D, Innovation, Complementarity, Panel data JEL classification: O32, O33, D24

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872