Fact of the Week: For Every 10 Percent Increase in R&D Investment per Employee, Irish Firm Productivity Increases by 12 Percent

August 28, 2017

(Ed. Note: The “Innovation Fact of the Week” appears as a regular feature in each edition of ITIF’s weekly email newsletter. Sign up today.)

Businesses invest in R&D to develop new products and more efficient processes. Both types of innovation increase productivity: New product releases create greater value from the same level of inputs, and more efficient processes allow firms to produce the same products with fewer inputs.

A recent study quantifies the impact of R&D investments on productivity in Ireland. The authors analyzed data on more than 10,000 Irish firms from 2006 to 2012 and found that for the average firm, a 10 percent increase in R&D investment per employee raised productivity by 12 percent. In fact, they found that R&D investments have a much larger impact on productivity than investments in “traditional” physical capital, such as new machines or factories.