Innovation Beyond Firm Boundaries: Common Blockholders, Strategic Alliances, and Corporate Innovation
51 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2015 Last revised: 9 Jan 2018
Date Written: November 1, 2016
We analyze the role of common equity blockholders in fostering the formation of strategic alliances, establish a positive causal effect of strategic alliances on corporate innovation, and analyze the channels through which strategic alliances foster innovation. Our findings may be summarized as follows. First, there is a positive relation between the fraction of a firm's industry peers with which it shares common blockholders and the number of strategic alliances that it enters into. Second, there is a positive relation between the R&D-related alliances formed by a firm and its subsequent innovation outcomes, as measured by the quantity and quality of patents filed, especially for alliances backed by common blockholders. Third, we document, for the first time in the literature, a unique method that firms use to share patent rights with their alliance partners, namely, "co-patenting". Fourth, we establish a positive causal relation between the formation of strategic alliances and innovation: first, by comparing the innovation of firms that fail to form alliances to those of firms that are able to successfully form strategic alliances; and second, by using an instrumental variables approach. Fifth, we establish that an important channel through which strategic alliances foster greater innovation is through the more efficient redeployment of human capital (inventors) across alliance partners.
Keywords: Blockholders, Strategic Alliances, Firm Boundaries, Innovation, R&D
JEL Classification: G34, G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation