Simon Wakeman

Research Projects

05 Dec 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Productivity Commission categories: ResearchEconomic GrowthProductivityInnovation

This paper looks at the impact of innovation on the performance of New Zealand firms. Results show that innovating firms grew more quickly than non-innovators but did not experience improved productivity outcomes. However, digging into the relationship between innovation and firm performacne reveals that firms in the manufacturing sector improved their productivity performance as a result of innovation. Firms that were younger or had access to international markets also tended to experience higher productivity growth following some types of innovation.

05 Dec 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Productivity Commission categories: ResearchEconomic GrowthGrants, Funding, Contracts & FundraisingProductivity

This paper presents the results from an evaluation of the impact of New Zealand Government R&D grants on the performance of New Zealand firms. The analysis uses information on grants and firm performance from 2004 to 2012 available in Statistics New Zealand’s Longitudinal Business Database. Grant recipients are matched to non-recipients that had a similar propensity to receive a grant. The performance of these two groups of firms is then compared across a range of measures including R&D spending, innovation activity, employment, output, and productivity growth. As the available data precedes the creation of Callaghan Innovation in 2013, this paper does not directly evaluate the performance of Callaghan Innovation’s R&D grants programme. Nevertheless it illustrates the range of insights that can be gained by assessing the impact of government programmes using the LBD, and highlights both the strengths and limitations of using the LBD to evaluate the impact of government interventions.

13 Aug 15
Completed
with: New Zealand Productivity Commission categories: ResearchEconomic GrowthGrants, Funding, Contracts & FundraisingProductivityInnovation

International comparisons suggest that, although the New Zealand public sector invests considerable resources into scientific research, New Zealand firms are not particularly effective at generating applied knowledge and even less so at turning it into commercial products. However, these findings are based on aggregate data and there is limited evidence on innovative activity at the firm level. This paper provides an overview of measures that capture both the inputs into and outputs from the innovative activities of New Zealand firms, using data on firm-level innovation from 2005 to 2013 available from Statistics New Zealand’s Longitudinal Business Database. The paper finds that the various measures tell different stories about the pattern of innovative activity across New Zealand firms. Notably, R&D expenditure and intensity are only weakly correlated with, and display different patterns to, measures of innovative output. For example, different types of innovation output occur in firms that do not report any investment in R&D. Accordingly, to get a full picture of the innovative activity of New Zealand firms, it is necessary to use multiple measures to get a broader picture.

This working paper was produced under the Longitudinal Business Database Partnership, along with “The impact of R&D subsidy on innovation: A study of New Zealand firms" (Jaffe and Le), released by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. This paper focuses on firms that have received R&D grants and found that receiving an R&D grant almost doubles the probability that a firm introduces a product or service that is new to the world. However, firms that received R&D grants were no more likely to introduce organisational or marketing innovations. Although R&D grants help drive one type of innovation, other, complementary activities are needed to increase innovation across the board.