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Opening up military innovation: causal effects of 'bottom-up' reforms to US defense research

John van Reenen (), Sabrina T. Howell, Jason Rathje and Jun Wong

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: Organizations investing in R&D must decide whether to solicit specific technologies or allow innovators to suggest ideas. Using administrative data, we study the “Open” reform to U.S. Air Force R&D procurement, which invited firms to suggest any new potentially useful technology. The new program was run simultaneously with the traditional top-down “Conventional” program. Our regression discontinuity design offers the first causal evaluation of a defense R&D program. We document benefits from winning an Open award for VC funding, military technology, and innovation, and no benefits from Conventional, which instead fosters incumbency. The bottom-up approach appears to help explain Open’s success.

Keywords: innovation; defense; R&D; procurement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H56 H57 O31 O32 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 103 pages
Date: 2021-04-13
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ent, nep-ino and nep-ppm
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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/114430/ Open access version. (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Opening up military innovation: causal effects of 'bottom-up' reforms to U.S. defense research (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Opening up Military Innovation:Causal Effects of 'Bottom-Up' Reforms to U.S. Defense Research (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Opening up Military Innovation: Causal Effects of 'Bottom-up' Reforms to U.S. Defense Research (2021) Downloads
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