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The role of technology standards in product innovation: Theory and evidence from UK manufacturing firms

Renaud Foucart and Qian Cher Li

Research Policy, 2021, vol. 50, issue 2

Abstract: This paper studies the role of technology standards in firms’ product innovation in terms of both incremental innovation (within a technology life cycle) and radical innovation (beyond the present technology cycle). We first develop a theoretical model which predicts that technology standards can be used by firms as an “insurance” hedging against the risky process of developing new products. This insurance mechanism fosters incremental innovation and product growth especially for those further away from the technological frontier. Using data from a weighted panel of UK manufacturing firms over seven years, we find that the use of technology standards over past years significantly enables a firm’s incremental innovation while also reducing its incentive to deliver radical innovation. Additionally, we show that this relationship is contingent on a firm’s R&D intensity in line with predictions of our theoretical model.

Keywords: Technology standards; Incremental innovation; Radical innovation; R&D intensity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L25 L84 M21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2020.104157

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Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

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