EU Science Hub

Persistent heterogeneity of R&D intensities within sectors: Evidence and policy implications


Do firms in the same sector converge towards the same R&D intensities? Previous research has often assumed this to be true. A closer examination, using microdata from the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard for the years 2000-2015, shows a large amount of heterogeneity in R&D intensities among firms in the same sector, and that this heterogeneity persists over time. Statistical tests of convergence show that the variation in R&D intensities does not decrease over time (i.e. no σ-convergence), although firms with an R&D intensity below the industry average do seem to catch up with the leaders (i.e. evidence of β-convergence). Overall, firms in the same industry do not converge to a common R&D intensity. Policy implications are discussed.