NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|November 2015||Get With the Program: Software-Driven Innovation in Traditional Manufacturing|
with Lee G. Branstetter, Matej Drev: w21752
This paper documents the increasing importance of software for successful innovation in manufacturing sectors well beyond the traditional definition of electronics and information technology. Using panel data for 229 publicly listed firms from 18 countries across four manufacturing industries over the period 1981-2005, we find significant variation across firms in the software intensity of their innovative activity. Firms that exhibit a higher level of software intensity generate more patents per R&D dollar, and their investment in R&D is more highly valued by equity markets. We present evidence that geographic differences in the abundance of skilled software labor are an important factor in determining sample firms’ software intensity and performance.