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Employee characteristics, absorptive capacity and innovation

Rho, Yeirae and Fabrizi, Simona and Lippert, Steffen (2021): Employee characteristics, absorptive capacity and innovation.

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Abstract

We investigate the determinants of firm absorptive capacity, with a particular focus on the effect of employee characteristics, and study how it affects a firm’s ability to generate new knowledge. Using administrative and national survey data on individuals and businesses, we first estimate absorptive capacity measures for New Zealand firms. We then show that the share of employees with international experience and the average skill level of employees have a positive impact on a firm’s learning capabilities, and that the positive effect of employees with international experience is greater if the firm also has a highly skilled workforce overall. We finally find that a firm's absorptive capacity is highly positively correlated to the likelihood of the firm innovating.

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