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00/10 Firms’ human capital, R&D and performance: A study on French and Swedish firms

Gerard Ballot, Fathi Fakhfakh and Erol Taymaz

This paper studies the effects of human and technological capital on productivity in a sample of large French and Swedish firms. While the role of technological capital as measured by R&D has been intensively investigated, almost no work has been done on the role of human capital as measured by firm sponsored training, and even less its interaction with technological capital. The level of intangible capital may also have a lasting effect on productivity growth, as emphasised by some endogenous growth models in a macroeconomic setting.

The study uses data from two panels of large French and Swedish firms for the same period (1987-93). It constructs measures of a firm’s human capital stock, based on their past and present training expenditures. The results confirm that firm sponsored training and R&D are significant inputs in the two countries, although to a different extent, and have high returns. However, except for managers and engineers in France, we do not find evidence of positive interactions between these two types of capital. Finally, growth effects at the firm level do not appear.


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