A Text-Based Analysis of Corporate Innovation

67 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2016 Last revised: 12 Mar 2017

Gustaf Bellstam

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business

Sanjai Bhagat

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Finance

J. Anthony Cookson

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business

Date Written: March 9, 2017

Abstract

We construct a new text-based measure of innovation using the content of analyst reports of S&P 500 firms. Our text-based measure captures innovation that is not measured by existing proxies, which is the case when innovation is not financed by R&D and is not patented. The text-based innovation measure is useful even within the set of patenting firms because it strongly correlates with valuable patents, which likely capture true innovation. Indeed, the text-based innovation measure is robustly related to greater firm performance and growth opportunities for up to four years, and these value implications hold just as strongly for non-patenting firms. Digging deeper, highly-innovative firms according to our text-based measure become innovative by producing innovative systems (e.g., Walmart’s cross-geography logistics). Consistent with this interpretation, we find that highly-innovative firms are more acquisitive, using acquisitions of relatively smaller firms to augment their innovative systems. Taken together, these findings provide deeper insight into the value of innovation more broadly, not just innovation that can be patented.

Keywords: Innovation, Text Analysis, Analyst Reports, Patenting

JEL Classification: O3, G3, M41

Suggested Citation

Bellstam, Gustaf and Bhagat, Sanjai and Cookson, J. Anthony, A Text-Based Analysis of Corporate Innovation (March 9, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2803232 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2803232

Gustaf Bellstam

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business ( email )

Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States

Sanjai Bhagat

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Finance ( email )

Campus Box 419
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-7821 (Phone)

J. Anthony Cookson (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business ( email )

Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States

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