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Trends in R&D, innovation and productivity in Sweden 1985-2002

  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Medicine


We use a new, comprehensive database covering Swedish industry and service firms 1985-2002, to examine trends in the ratio between patenting and R&D (PR-ratio). There is a fall in PR-ratios in the long run (1985-2002) on the aggregate level and for all sectors. In general low-tech sectors perform better in terms of PR-ratios than high-tech sectors. A fall in the PR-ratio could be offset by increasing patent quality. We use two indicators of quality in this paper: forward citations and family size. The quality-adjusted PR-ratios also fall in the long run, but unlike the raw PR-ratio that falls drastically after 1997, the fall only takes place in the first half of the period (1985-1994), and then levels out. There is thus strong correlation between the Swedish economic growth performance and the quality-adjusted PR-ratios. The trend in the quality adjusted PR-ratio is mainly driven by the Paper, pulp and paper products industry together with R&D in science, engineering and medicine. We find high correlation between quality-adjusted-patents and R&D at the sector level, but not between quality-adjusted-patents and growth in value added or labour productivity.

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