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Why firms stop introducing innovations in the great recession: aggregate demand, financial constraints and risk

Javier Ortiz (Department of Management and Organization, Universidad de Zaragoza Facultad de Economia y Empresa, Zaragoza, Spain)
Vicente Salas-Fumás (Department of Management and Organization, Universidad de Zaragoza Facultad de Economia y Empresa, Zaragoza, Spain)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 8 June 2021

78

Abstract

Purpose

With Spanish Community Innovation Survey data, this paper tests two main hypotheses as explanation of the fall in business innovation output in the Great Recession: the aggregate demand effect (firms have lower propensity to initiate innovation projects in recession than in contraction from demand-pull and profit expectations effects) and the risk effect (a greater proportion of the initiated projects fail in recessions than in expansions).

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology consists on first modelling the decision by firms to initiate innovation projects in t or not (probit model), and, second, modelling the outcomes, success or failure in t + 1 of firms that decide to initiate (Heckman model).

Findings

The empirical results support the two hypotheses. They also indicate that the sensitivity of the decision to initiate innovation projects to the aggregate demand is more pronounced among financially constrained firms than among unconstrained ones, while the risk effect appears to be independent of the financial situation of firms.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the research are limited by not being able to follow up individual innovation projects, and by not having available a more representative sample of firms where non-innovators and potential innovators are represented (now is biased toward potential innovators).

Practical implications

The results highlight the importance of macroeconomic stability for sustained business innovation output over time and calls managers’ attention in better management of innovation risk.

Social implications

The results of the paper recommend macroeconomic polies aimed at the stabilization of aggregate demand and smoothing the business cycle, as a way to contribute to the stabilization of the growth of innovation output over time. Monetary and fiscal policies that smooth the business cycle will then have significant effects in the stabilization of innovation output and, in turn, in the reduction of volatility of economic growth over time. Increasing the direct public financial aid to undertake innovation projects in recession periods will not have the same innovation output stabilization effect than the stabilization of the aggregate demand. The reason is that, as the paper points out, the innovation output of financially unconstrained firms is also affected negatively by the contraction of aggregate demand in recession periods.

Originality/value

This paper is the first one to investigate the differences in business innovation outputs in expansions and recessions, separating the aggregate demand and the risk effect that the organisation for economic co-operation and development identifies as main determinants of the fall in innovation output during the Great Recession. The decomposition of firms’ innovation output in the decision to initiate innovation projects and the likelihood that those initiated succeed is also new in the literature.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was made possible owing to funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Project EC02017-86305-C4, and it was partially co-financed by the Regional Government of Aragon (Spain) in the framework of Research Groups Ref. S42_20R.

Citation

Ortiz, J. and Salas-Fumás, V. (2021), "Why firms stop introducing innovations in the great recession: aggregate demand, financial constraints and risk", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTPM-08-2020-0126

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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