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The EU Framework Programs: Are they worth doing?

Dekker, Ronald and kleinknecht, A.H. (2008): The EU Framework Programs: Are they worth doing?

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Abstract

Using CIS data from the Netherlands, Germany and France we test whether EU Framework programs do have effects on their participants' R&D input and innovative output. From our Heckman selection equations, we conclude that the FPs attract the "elite" of European innovators. The question is whether, after correction for self-selection, the programs have positive effects on innovative behaviour. This is hard to test meaningfully among large firms as EU funding is likely to cover only a minor share of their innovative activities. Analysing changes in R&D input we find that smaller firms increase their R&D input quite substantially after entering an EU FP program. Estimating equations that explain sales of innovative products, we find that firms that collaborate on R&D with clients, suppliers, competitors or public research institutes do not have increased sales of innovative products. We try to provide explanations for this counter-intuitive finding. Moreover, participation in an EU FP neither increases sales of innovative products. This result holds after numerous robustness checks. We argue that our insignificant outcomes do not necessarily imply that the FP programs are worthless. There is independent evidence that innovative projects funded by the EU FPs do, on average, involve more technical and scientific risks, they are more complex, and involve longer time horizons. Obviously, they are farer from market introduction which is not surprising, given the regulatory demand that EU FPs should be "pre-competitive". Against this background, we cannot exclude the possibility that an insignificant coefficient of FP participation in our equation on innovative output may still have a positive meaning.

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