Understanding Innovative Firms: An Empirical Analysis of the GAPS

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 08/00

Date: May 2000


Mark Rogers


This paper uses data from the Growth and Performance Survey of Australian firms to investigate the determinants of innovation. The measure of innovation is based on whether the firm introduced a new product or process in 1997. Various determinants are investigated including market structure, export status, the use of networks, and training. Regression analysis is conducted separately for manufacturing and non- manufacturing firms, and within each sector by firm size groups. Overall, the results show there is persistence in innovative activities (i.e. firms that innovated in 1995 are more likely to innovation in 1997); small manufacturing firms which use networks tend to be more innovative; and medium sized manufacturing firms that export are also more innovative. However, the main conclusion of the analysis is that many of the explanatory variables are not significant. Moreover, the results vary dramatically across firm size and sector, suggesting that the process of innovation is complex.

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