NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Sharon Belenzon

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Working Papers

January 2015Killing the Golden Goose? The Decline of Science in Corporate R&D
with Ashish Arora, Andrea Patacconi: w20902
Scientific knowledge is believed to be the wellspring of innovation. Historically, firms have also invested in research to fuel innovation and growth. In this paper, we document a shift away from scientific research by large corporations between 1980 and 2007. We find that publications by company scientists have declined over time in a range of industries. We also find that the value attributable to scientific research has dropped, whereas the value attributable to technical knowledge (as measured by patents) has remained stable. These effects appear to be associated with globalization and narrower firm scope, rather than changes in publication practices or a decline in the usefulness of science as an input into innovation. Large firms appear to value the golden eggs of science (as reflect...
May 2011The Organization of R&D in American Corporations: The Determinants and Consequences of Decentralization
with Ashish Arora, Luis A. Rios: w17013
We study the relationship between decentralization of R&D, innovation and firm performance using a novel dataset on the organizational structure of 1,290 American publicly-listed corporations, 2,615 of their affiliate firms, as well as characteristics of 594,903 patents that they hold. We explore the tension between centralization and decentralization of R&D, which trades off between responsiveness to immediate and local business needs and the type of research that can benefit the firm as a whole. To do this, we develop two novel measures of decentralization. First, using intra-firm patent assignments, we distinguish between patents that are assigned to the inventing unit rather than to corporate headquarters. Second, we exploit the variation between firms which posses a central corporate ...
August 2009Intracompany Governance and Innovation
with Tomer Berkovitz, Patrick Bolton: w15304
This paper examines the relation between ownership, corporate form, and innovation for a cross-section of private and publicly traded innovating firms in the US and 15 European countries. A striking novel observation emerges from our analysis: while most innovating firms in the US are publicly traded conglomerates, a substantial fraction of innovation is concentrated in private firms and in business groups in continental European countries. We find virtually no variation across US industries in the corporate form of innovating firms, but a substantial variation across industries in continental European countries, where business groups tend to be concentrated in industries with a slower and more fundamental innovation cycle and where intellectual protection of innovators seems to be of para...

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