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Access to external knowledge: an empirical analysis of alliances as spillover channel.

By Reinhilde Veugelers and K De Backer


The theoretical IO literature has modeled the relationship between spillovers and cooperative (R&D)-agreements extensively; suggesting that spillovers induce cooperation as a means to internalize these involuntary effects, while cooperation simultaneously enhances voluntary spillovers through information sharing. The empirical literature on this topic however is scarce. This paper empirically assesses the interactions between alliances and transfers of knowledge. A first finding is that, consistent with the theoretical literature, the occurrence of alliances is correlated with traditional measures of (involuntary) spillovers, based on input-output relations and technology proximity. But not only R&D-cooperation corresponds to (the lack of) appropriability; the evidence shows that also non-R&D alliances are associated with transfers of knowledge. In a second part the impact of external know-how on the performance of industries in OECD-countries is analyzed. Following the association of alliances with spillovers, the impact of external know-how is weighted by the occurrence of alliances with the external source, based in the same industry or in other industries. Using information about 588 inter- and intra-industry R&D and non-R&D alliances formed in the period '86-'96, we find that industry R&D levels accessed through intra-industry R&D alliances have a negative impact on (the growth of) own productivity, while this effect is positive for industries with intra-industry non-R&D alliances. Know-how from other sectors has no significant impact on productivity, unless for those sectors with which R&D alliances are prevailing that extend beyond R&D to include production and/or distribution. In contrast to the findings in other studies, this effect of inter-industry spillovers is found to be negative.Knowledge; Alliances;

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