Skills, Intangible Investments and Innovation Performance: Recent Evidence for UK Firms

Tuesday 29 November 2016, Room 639, 16.15-17.45, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL. 

Presenter: Geoff Mason (LLAKES Research Centre, UCL Institute of Education) 

In research seeking to explain the UK’s relatively poor productivity performance in recent years, much attention is now given to investment in intangible assets such as skills, knowledge, computerised information (software and databases) and organisational capital. This emphasis on intangible assets fits well with resource- and knowledge-based theories of the firm which suggest that persistent differences in firm performance arise because successful firms build up distinctive resources, capabilities and structures over time, for example, in innovation-related skills and knowledge.

This paper draws on analysis of Community Innovation Survey data for UK firms to examine the extent to which innovation performance depends on past investments in skills, research, design and development and hard-to-measure intangible assets such as access to external knowledge sources and relationships with innovation partners.  It seeks to account for recent declines in both innovation inputs (such as innovation-related spending) and outputs (such as new product development) during the 2008-09 recession and examines why UK firms have varied greatly in intangible investments and innovation performance in post-recession years.

Geoff Mason is Visiting Professor at the LLAKES Research Centre, UCL Institute of Education. He was formerly Senior and Principal Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) for many years. His work on productivity, skills and innovation has been widely cited in UK public policy debates over many years. 

The seminar is free to attend, but prior registration would be helpful: to register, please contact  to book a place.

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