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Intangible Assets and Labor Productivity Growth

Carolina Hintzmann, Josep Lladós-Masllorens and Raul Ramos
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Carolina Hintzmann: Economic & Business Department, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Josep Lladós-Masllorens: Economic & Business Department, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), 08035 Barcelona, Spain

Economies, 2021, vol. 9, issue 2, 1-21

Abstract: We examine the contribution to labor productivity growth in the manufacturing sector of investment in different intangible asset categories—computerized information, innovative property, and economic competencies—for a set of 18 European countries between 1995 and 2017, as well as whether this contribution varies between different groups of countries. The motivation is to go a step further and identify which single or combination of intangible assets are relevant. The main findings can be summarized as follows. Firstly, all the three different categories of intangible assets contribute to labor productivity growth. In particular, intangible assets related to economic competences together with innovative property assets have been identified as the main drivers; specifically, advertising and marketing, organizational capital, research and development (R&D) investment, and design. Secondly, splitting the sample of European Union (EU) member states into three groups—northern, central and southern Europe—allows for the identification of a significant differentiated behavior between and within groups, in terms of the effects of investment in intangible assets on labor productivity growth. We conclude that measures promoting investment in intangibles at EU level should be accompanied by specific measures focusing on each country’s needs, for the purpose of promoting labor productivity growth. The obtained evidence suggests that the solution for the innovation deficit of some European economies consist not only of raising R&D expenditure, but also exploiting complementarities between different types of assets.

Keywords: intangible capital; labor productivity; manufacturing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E F I J O Q (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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