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Measuring Innovation Around the World
1ESSEC Business School; 2National University of Singapore; 3University of New South Wales
Research on corporate innovation often focuses on firms with positive US patent activity and reported R&D, thereby excluding over 90% of the firms in Compustat. By exploiting data from 30 global patent offices, we investigate the nature of missing innovation data in the US and around the world. Our central research question is how studies of innovation, or those that rely on measures of innovation as a control variable, should assess firms without reported R&D or patent activity. Our preliminary analyses indicate systematic and predictable patterns across firms and countries for missing patents and R&D. We then compare the empirical efficacy of excluding firms without US patents or without reported R&D to simple replacement methods, and to various econometric solutions for missing innovation data. We show how excluding or deleting firms without US patents or reported R&D, even in studies of just US firms, provides biased coefficient estimates and standard errors. We also demonstrate how the biases from simply excluding the missing observations lead to specific distortions in tests related to corporate growth and country level innovation capacity. We then discuss best practices and provide specific guidelines in handling missing R&D and patent data.
Innovation in Mature Firms: A Text-Based Analysis
University of Colorado Boulder
We develop a new measure of innovation using a textual analysis of analyst reports. Our text-based measure gives a useful description of innovation by mature firms with and without patenting and R&D. For non-patenting firms, the measure identifies firms that adopt novel technologies and innovative business practices (e.g., Walmart’s cross-geography logistics). For patenting firms, the text-based measure strongly correlates with valuable patents, which likely capture true innovation. The text-based measure robustly forecasts greater firm performance and growth opportunities for up to four years, and these value implications hold just as strongly for non-patenting firms.
Human Capital, Skilled Immigrants, and Innovation
1Georgia State University; 2University of Colorado Denver
Prior to the 2004 immigration policy shock, innovative US firms, by acquiring human capital of skilled immigrant workers, had effectively utilized an alternative to investment in the existing (domestic) human capital stock. Post-shock, firm-level innovation outcome, measured by patents and citations, declined significantly for the skilled immigrant-dependent firms. These firms responded to the policy shock by a preemptive reduction in R&D investment, retaining more of the incumbent immigrant workers to offset the reduction in new immigrant hiring, and hiring fewer workers. There has been no impact of the policy shock on the equity return for the immigrant-dependent firms around the shock.
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Conference: EFA 2017
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