Does R&D spending boost tangible investment? An analysis on European firms

TitleDoes R&D spending boost tangible investment? An analysis on European firms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCarboni, OA, Medda, G
JournalApplied Economics

This article investigates the relationship between firm’s R&D intensity, expressed as R&D expenditure over sales, and investment intensity in tangible assets. It is commonly acknowledged that R&D requires additional physical investment to be implemented. R&D increases a firm’s productivity and return to tangible investments, thus, providing to the firm incentives to bear high tangible capital costs and to invest more. This represents a crucial issue for a firm’s growth, particularly considering the strong interaction between physical capital accumulation and technological progress. The analysis is based on a large sample of manufacturing firms across seven European countries in the period 2007–2009. Since the sub-sample of firms performing R&D might not be random, there may potentially be an endogeneity issue. The analysis also considers that firms may decide to spend on R&D and investment in physical capital simultaneously. The questions of both endogeneity and simultaneity are dealt with by employing an instrumental variable two-step procedure. We find a positive and significant impact of R&D intensity on firms’ tangible investment intensity. The econometric results highlight the importance of financial factors, particularly with respect to firms’ internal resources. Exposure to international trade has a negative impact on investment, possibly depending on the time-span of the sample used.

Keywordsfirm behaviour, IV model, r&d, tangible investment