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Estimating a measure of intellectual capital value to test its determinants

Viktoria Goebel (University of Edinburgh Business School, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to identify a measure of intellectual capital (IC) value which offers new research opportunities for empirical investigations and to examine the determinants of IC value.


In total, 4,488 firm years of German companies are investigated to compare three measures of IC value: market-to-book, Tobin’s q, and long-run value-to-book (LRVTB).


LRVTB is observed to be the IC value measure with the highest explanatory value. This measure provides an approach to empirically test previously untested hypotheses on IC value. The results on testing determinants of IC value indicate that IC value is positively related to leverage and motivational payments to employees and negatively associated with company size. In contrast, recognised intangible assets, research and development (R & D), company age and concentrated ownership show no significant effects.

Research limitations/implications

The findings on IC value measures contribute to IC research as they offer a way to estimate IC value for testing IC-related hypotheses. The findings on IC determinants have implications for IC management as the relevant determinants can be considered for IC value creation.


This paper responds to the challenge posed by previous IC research to develop more creative quantitative approaches to estimate IC value (Marr et al., 2003; Mouritsen, 2006) in order to test IC-related hypotheses by innovatively applying a measure from mergers and acquisitions research to IC.



The author would like to thank Professor Pauline Weetman and Professor Bill Rees for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Useful feedbacks by the participants of the eighth EIASM Workshop on “Intangibles, Intellectual Capital and Extra-Financial Information” in Grenoble are gratefully acknowledged.


Goebel, V. (2015), "Estimating a measure of intellectual capital value to test its determinants", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 101-120.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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