Intangible capital and productivity: Firm-level evidence from German manufacturing
Viktor Slavtchev and
No 1/2020, IWH Discussion Papers from Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH)
We study the importance of intangible capital (R&D, software, patents) for the measurement of productivity using firm-level panel data from German manufacturing. We first document a number of facts on the evolution of intangible investment over time, and its distribution across firms. Aggregate intangible investment increased over time. However, the distribution of intangible investment, even more so than that of physical investment, is heavily right-skewed, with many firms investing nothing or little, and a few firms having very large intensities. Intangible investment is also lumpy. Firms that invest more intensively in intangibles (per capita or as sales share) also tend to be more productive. In a second step, we estimate production functions with and without intangible capital using recent control function approaches to account for the simultaneity of input choice and unobserved productivity shocks. We find a positive output elasticity for research and development (R&D) and, to a lesser extent, software and patent investment. Moreover, the production function estimates show substantial heterogeneity in the output elasticities across industries and firms. While intangible capital has small effects for firms with low intangible intensity, there are strong positive effects for high-intensity firms. Finally, including intangibles in a gross output production function reduces productivity dispersion (measured by the 90-10 decile range) on average by 3%, in some industries as much as nearly 9%.
Keywords: intangible capital; productivity; production functions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D24 L60 O30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eff, nep-eur, nep-ino, nep-sbm and nep-tid
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:12020
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in IWH Discussion Papers from Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics ().