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Exploring the links between knowledge spillovers, trade, productivity, and innovation

Time: Wed 2023-09-20 13.00

Location: F3 (Flodis), Lindstedtsvägen 26 & 28, Stockholm

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Language: English

Subject area: Economics

Doctoral student: Ingrid Viklund Ros , Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Opponent: Professor Bettina Peters, ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research Mannheim Department: Innovation Economics and Industrial Dynamics

Supervisor: Professor Hans Lööf, Centrum för studier inom vetenskap och innovation, CESIS, Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.); Docent Anders Broström, Centrum för studier inom vetenskap och innovation, CESIS, Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

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This thesis consists of four papers which consider internal and external determinants of innovation, productivity, or export at the firm level sing matched panel data from various national and international databases.

In the first paper, we examine a universal set of Swedish employer-employee panel data for the period 2000-2014. There is evidence for spillover from exporters to almost 1,300 non-exporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through outside board directors. The identification strategy to account for endogenous selection of external board members relies on external instruments and applications of different instrumental variable approaches, which capture also unobserved heterogeneity. Our findings are robust to controlling for export background among managers and employees, as well as firm size, human capital, total factor productivity, productivity spillovers, firm location, and industry classification.

The second paper investigates whether board directors interlocked with or employed by innovative firms affect start-up firms’ propensity to be innovators themselves. Drawing upon a sample of more than 50,000 Swedish start-up firms, we find that board connections to incumbent innovators have a causal impact on the new firms’ probability to apply for patents. The results are robust when controlling for industry, geography, and firm age as well as spillovers through worker and managerial mobility, external knowledge sourcing through patent disclosure, access to venture capital, and board attributes.

The third paper examines the impact of offshoring on patenting and total factor productivity using a panel of 7,000 mainly small Swedish manufacturing firms over the period 2001-2014. We apply the United Nations Broad Economic Categories (BEC) system to identify offshoring-related intermediate imports. The results show that the link between offshoring and innovation as well as productivity is largely explained by self-selection and reverse causality. We find a positive but statistically weak impact of offshoring on innovation, and no effect on productivity.

The fourth paper examines solar innovation drivers in a panel of firms seeking energy patents across 12 European countries. Using 26-year micro and macro observations plus a 10-year pre-sample, it finds a strong link between electricity prices and solar photovoltaic patents. For a sample of 108 unique firms from the 12 European countries, Poisson estimates are insignificant for public policies like feed-in tariffs, investments, subsidies, and support. Positive spillover from solar and wind patent stocks and negative impact from fossil energy patents are found. Studying 226 firms located outside of the 12 European countries, the results suggest that European feed-in tariffs and public solar investments increase the propensity for patent protection within the 12 European countries.