The Allocation Decision on Research and Advertising Spending by Small and Large Firms - an Illustration of Four Industries

Posted: 25 Nov 1996

See all articles by Agnes Cheng

Agnes Cheng

Hong Kong Polytechnic University; University of Oklahama

Cynthia Jackson

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

Angela Hwang

University of Houston

Date Written: July 1996

Abstract

Many studies investigate the relationship between firm size and spending on research and development (R&D) and advertising and promotion (A&P) activities. Such relationship may yield insights into the effect of firm size on the effect (the marginal benefit) of the spending and thus facilitate managers of different firms in making optimal investment decisions. Studies have shown that R&D and A&P have long-term effects on firms' profitability; however, they are expensed a incurred as required by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This expense treatment could lead managers to budget spending for R&D and A&P activities based on their relation to sales; accordingly, an intensity measure t relates the expense to sales has been a popular surrogate for researching discretionary spending behavior. This paper discusses the inappropriateness of using the intensity measure to investigate the relationship between firm size and spending effectiveness on R&D or A&P when both activities are important. We propose a decomposition model of the intensity measure, which includes a variable that indicates the all decision on either the R&D or the A&P spending given the total budgeted discretionary spending. This allocation variable reveals the relative marginal b of R&D and A&P activities. Using four industries (two R&D- intensive, two A&P-intensive) to illustrate the model, we find that the intensity measures are often inconsistent in assessing the firm size effect on the spending across industries however, the allocation variable reveals consistent economic relationships between firm size and spending effectiveness. The model and the results described in this paper enlarge the avenue in researching firms' spending on multiplediscretionary activities.

JEL Classification: G31, M49

Suggested Citation

Cheng, Agnes and Jackson, Cynthia and Hwang, Angela, The Allocation Decision on Research and Advertising Spending by Small and Large Firms - an Illustration of Four Industries (July 1996). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812

Agnes Cheng

Hong Kong Polytechnic University ( email )

11 Yuk Choi Rd
Hung Hom
Hong Kong

University of Oklahama ( email )

307 West Brooks
Norman, OK 73019-4004
United States

Cynthia Jackson (Contact Author)

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
713-743-4833 (Phone)
713-433-4828 (Fax)

Angela Hwang

University of Houston

4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204
United States

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