Filling the Gap: The Consequences of Collaborator Loss in Corporate R&D

51 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2022

See all articles by Felix Poege

Felix Poege

Boston University - Technology & Policy Research Initiative; Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Fabian Gaessler

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Karin Hoisl

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Munich School of Management, Ludwig-Maximilians-University; Copenhagen Business School, Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics

Dietmar Harhoff

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Matthias Dorner

Institute for Employment Research (IAB); Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Date Written: September 29, 2022

Abstract

We examine how collaborator loss affects knowledge workers in corporate R&D. We argue that such a loss affects the remaining collaborators not only by reducing their team-specific capital (as argued in the prior literature) but also by increasing their bargaining power over the employer, who is in need of filling the gap left by the lost collaborator to ensure the continuation of R&D projects. This shift in bargaining power may, in turn, lead to benefits, such as additional resources or more attractive working conditions. These benefits can partially compensate for the negative effect of reduced team-specific capital on productivity and influence the career trajectories of the remaining collaborators. We empirically investigate the consequences of collaborator loss by exploiting 845 unexpected deaths of active inventors. We find that inventor death has a moderate negative effect on the productivity of the remaining collaborators. This negative effect disappears when we focus on the remaining collaborators who work for the same employer as the deceased inventor. Moreover, this group is more likely to be promoted and less likely to leave their current employer.

Keywords: Collaboration, mobility, innovation, inventors, patents, teams

Suggested Citation

Pöge, Felix and Gaessler, Fabian and Hoisl, Karin and Harhoff, Dietmar and Dorner, Matthias, Filling the Gap: The Consequences of Collaborator Loss in Corporate R&D (September 29, 2022). Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 17, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4234025 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4234025

Felix Pöge

Boston University - Technology & Policy Research Initiative ( email )

Boston, MA 02215
United States

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Fabian Gaessler

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany

Karin Hoisl

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Munich School of Management, Ludwig-Maximilians-University ( email )

Kaulbachstraße 45
Munich, 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.inno-tec.de/mitarbeiter/hoisl/index_e.html

Copenhagen Business School, Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.cbs.dk/en/research/departments-and-centres/department-of-innovation-and-organizational-ec

Dietmar Harhoff (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany
+49 89 24246 550 (Phone)
+49 89 24246 599 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München ( email )

Munich, 80539
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Matthias Dorner

Institute for Employment Research (IAB) ( email )

Regensburger Str. 104
Nuremberg, 90478
Germany

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

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