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OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers

The OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) develops evidence-based policy advice on the contribution of science, technology and industry to well-being and economic growth. STI Policy Papers cover a broad range of topics, including industry and globalisation, innovation and entrepreneurship, scientific R&D and emerging technologies. These reports are officially declassified by an OECD Committee.

English

Laggard firms, technology diffusion and its structural and policy determinants

This paper provides new evidence on the main characteristics of laggard firms - firms in the bottom 40% of the productivity distribution - and their potential for productivity growth. It finds that laggards are on average younger and smaller than more productive firms, and matter for aggregate resource reallocation. Moreover, younger laggards converge faster toward the productivity frontier, suggesting that the composition of the laggard group matters for future productivity. Yet this report finds that laggards converge at a slower rate in highly digital- and skill-intensive industries, suggesting that there are barriers to technology and knowledge diffusion. This could help explain the much-debated productivity slowdown and the increased productivity dispersion. This report also finds that policies aimed at improving workers’ skills, alleviating financial constraints to investments and increasing firms' absorptive capacity through direct R&D support can accelerate the diffusion of knowledge and technology, and help laggard firms to catch up.

English

Keywords: Catch-up, Laggards, Productivity
JEL: O57: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economywide Country Studies / Comparative Studies of Countries; D4: Microeconomics / Market Structure, Pricing, and Design; D2: Microeconomics / Production and Organizations; L2: Industrial Organization / Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
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