Innovation and Incentives: Evidence from Corporate R&D

54 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2006 Last revised: 27 Aug 2013

See all articles by Julie Wulf

Julie Wulf

Harvard Business School

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2006

Abstract

Beginning in the late 1980s, American corporations began increasingly linking the compensation of central research personnel to the economic objectives of the corporation. This paper examines the impact of the shifting compensation of the heads of corporate research and development. Among firms with centralized R&D organizations, a clear relationship emerges: more long-term incentives (e.g. stock options and restricted stock) are associated with more heavily cited patents. These incentives also appear to be somewhat associated with more patent filings and patents of greater generality. We address endogeniety concerns in a variety of ways, including examining the impact of compensation for other key managers and utilizing an instrument based on spawning activity in the region. While we cannot determine whether the effect is due to better project selection or better people selection, the results continue to be consistent with our interpretation that performance pay of corporate R&D heads is associated with more innovative firms.

Suggested Citation

Wulf, Julie M. and Lerner, Josh, Innovation and Incentives: Evidence from Corporate R&D (January 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w11944. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=877449

Julie M. Wulf

Harvard Business School ( email )

Harvard Business School
Boston, MA
United States

Josh Lerner (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6065 (Phone)
617-496-7357 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/jlerner/

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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