A New Approach to the Valuation of Intangible Capital
In this paper, I argue that intangible capital is not a distinct input to production like physical capital or labor but rather it is the glue that creates value from other inputs. This perspective naturally leads to an empirical model in which intangible capital is defined in terms of adjustment costs. Estimates of these adjustment costs using firm-level panel data suggest that there are no appreciable intangibles associated with R&D and advertising whereas information technology creates intangibles with a 70% annual rate of return a sizable figure that is nevertheless much smaller than reported in previous studies. As a bridge to previous research, I show that much larger estimates can be obtained by using ordinary least squares, which ignores the possibility that the value of the .rm and its investment policy are simultaneously determined. Larger estimates can also be obtained by ignoring the possibility that the stock market overstates the value of intangible-intensive companies.
Published: A New Approach to the Valuation of Intangible Capital, Jason G. Cummins, in Measuring Capital in the New Economy (2005), University of Chicago Press