Innovation in Australian Enterprises: Evidence from the GAPS and IBIS Databases

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 19/98

Date: August 1998


Mark Rogers


This paper investigates the data relating to innovation in three databases: the Growth and Performance Survey (GAPS), the IBIS-Innovation Scoreboard and the Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey. The two databases we focus upon are the GAPS and IBIS. Data in GAPS includes questions on whether an innovation had occurred and on expenditures relating to innovation. The IBIS database contains R&D expenditures and the number of applications for patents, trade marks and designs for large Australian firms. Various summary statistics are presented and the data are analysed with reference to industry, firm size, firm age and foreign ownership categorisations. A number of broad results emerge. The extent of innovations (an output) and innovative activities (inputs) varies substantially across industries. For manufacturing firms the following points emerge. R&D and 'tooling-up' expenditures are the largest types of innovation expenditures. Small firms are much less likely to undertake R&D, although, those that do, tend to have high R&D intensities. The distribution of innovation intensities (e.g. R&D/sales) is skewed to the right (o.e. there are a small number of high intensity firms that can dominate). R&D intensity for individual firms appears to be volatile over time, with firms with the highest levels of R&D intensity tending to have the highest volatility.

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