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Analysis of Factors Affecting the Heterogeneity of Chinese Enterprises' Basic Research Preference



关键词: 基础研究,企业特征, 异质性企业, 科技型企业


Abstract: It is acknowledged that the deficiency in basic research by Chinese business sectors results in inferior innovation performance in China. Understanding the motive and determinants of basic research in business sectors has important implications for both scholars and policy-makers. By analyzing the survey firms in Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park for the period of 2005 to 2015, we discover a systematic difference in firms′ characteristics between firms that conduct basic research and their counterparts in terms of productivity, capital intensity, size and age. The skill and quality of human capital, e.g. the overseas Ph.D. training and ratio of employees possessing graduate degrees, have prominent impacts on firms′ decision to conduct basic research and their publication intensity.  In particular, subsidies recipients and state-owned firms are more likely to conduct basic research. Firm heterogeneity in conducting basic research reflects their different R&D strategy and absorptive capabilities along various stages of technological capabilities. 

The Panel Probit model and random-effects Tobit regression are adopted to estimate the determinants of firm decision to conduct basic research and the determinants of publication intensity separately. Results show that firms conducting basic research are significantly more capital-intensive, more productive in terms of labor productivity, larger, older, and have higher R&D intensity. Quality of human capital presents a prominent connection with firm decision to conduct basic research and their outputs, imply the high dependency of knowledge creation and integration on the skill of employees. In science-based sectors, academic training and skill play a more important role in realizing technological innovation. R&D subsidies are positively correlated with firm decision to conduct basic research, highlighting its importance in guiding firms to invest in long-term R&D activities, but there is no significant effect on publication intensity. The causality of R&D subsidies and corporate basic research should be explored further. Firms with different levels of technological capabilities present various tendencies to conduct basic research due to their diversified R&D strategy. Firms with overseas R&D expenditure are more likely to conduct basic research and have a higher level of publication intensity. Meanwhile, using foreign licenses is positively correlated with firm decision to conduct R&D but has no significant impacts on their publication intensity.

These research findings have two policy implications. First, policies addressing the improvement of business basic research should put training and attracting of high-skilled talents as the first priority of agenda because conducting basic research relies heavily on high-quality human resources. Second, innovation policy should orient towards firms competing in or close to the global technology frontier as well as aim to long-term impacts of R&D investment and adjust the performance index accordingly.


Key words: basic research, firm characteristics, heterogeneous firms, high-tech firms







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