The Origins of Industrial Scientific Discoveries

49 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2008 Last revised: 27 Mar 2008

See all articles by James D. Adams

James D. Adams

Dept of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Roger Clemmons

University of Florida - Institute for Child Health Policy

Date Written: February 2008

Abstract

This paper estimates science production functions for R&D-performing firms in the United States using scientific papers as the measure of output, by analogy with patents. The underlying evidence covers 200 top U.S. R&D firms during 1981-1999 as well as 110 top U.S. universities. We find that industrial science builds on past scientific research inside and outside the firm, with most of the returns to scale in production deriving from outside knowledge. In turn, the largest outside contribution derives from universities rather than firms; this is especially true when papers are weighted by citations received, a measure of their importance. Consistent with the role assigned to knowledge spillovers in growth theory, the importance of outside knowledge, especially that of universities, increases from the firm to the industry level. The findings survive the inclusion of fixed effects, interactions among the effects, variations in sample and specification, and efforts to control for endogeneity.

Suggested Citation

Adams, James D. and Clemmons, J. Roger, The Origins of Industrial Scientific Discoveries (February 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w13823. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1093661

James D. Adams (Contact Author)

Dept of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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J. Roger Clemmons

University of Florida - Institute for Child Health Policy ( email )

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Gainesville, FL 32610-0147
United States

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