John Van Reenen

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Many writers have claimed that research and development (R&D) has two faces. In addition to the conventional role of stimulating innovation, R&D enhances technology transfer (absorptive capacity). We explore this idea empirically using a panel of industries across twelve OECD countries. We find R&D to be statistically and economically important in both(More)
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This paper shows that with (partial) irreversibility higher uncertainty reduces the responsiveness of investment to demand shocks. Uncertainty increases real option values making firms more cautious when investing or disinvesting. This is confirmed both numerically for a model with a rich mix of adjustment costs, time-varying uncertainty, and aggregation(More)
The impact of R&D on growth through spillovers has been a major topic of economic research over the last thirty years. A central problem in the literature is that firm performance is affected by two countervailing “spillovers”: a positive effect from technological knowledge spillovers and negative business stealing effects from product market rivals. We(More)
This paper exploits area based piloting and age-related eligibility rules to identify treatment effects of a labor market program – the New Deal for Young People in the UK. A central focus is on substitution/displacement effects and on equilibrium wage effects. The program includes extensive job assistance and wage subsidies to employers. We find that the(More)
This paper analyzes the relationship between the diffusion of new technologies and the decentralization of firms. Centralized control relies on the information of the principal, which we equate with publicly available information. Decentralized control, on the other hand, delegates authority to a manager with superior information. However, the manager can(More)
This paper tests for the importance of cash flow on investment in fixed capital and R&D using firm-level panel data in two countries between 1985 and 1994. For German firms, cash flow is not informative in simple econometric models of fixed investment or R&D. In identical specifications for British firms, cash flow is informative about investment, although(More)
We use an innovative survey tool to collect management practice data from 732 medium sized manufacturing firms in the US, France, Germany and the UK. These measures of managerial practice are strongly associated with firm-level productivity, profitability, Tobin’s Q, sales growth and survival rates. Management practices also display significant(More)
Can directed technical change be used to combat climate change? We construct new firm-level panel data on auto industry innovation distinguishing between “dirty” (internal combustion engine) and “clean” (e.g. electric and hybrid) patents across 80 countries over several decades. We show that firms tend to innovate relatively more in clean technologies when(More)