In recent decades firms have stepped up cooperation in R&D to improve their innovation capability by exploiting the external knowledge. Using data from the Community Innovation Survey, this paper analyzes the effect of cooperation on the propensity to innovate of Italian firms. Overall, the main results show that cooperation in research and development has a positive effect on this propensity. However, the effect varies according to the type of partner chosen by the firm. The greatest benefits derive from collaborations with non-competitive partners, such as suppliers and clients, but cooperation with competitors may also stimulate the firms’ innovation capabilities. Instead, cooperation with universities and other public research organizations shows a weak positive correlation with innovation propensity of firms. Size, R&D intensity, public support and internationalization also play an important role. The work takes into account the simultaneity and heterogeneity in firms’ innovation and collaboration strategies.
Keywords: R&D cooperation, innovation, partner selection, multivariate probit model, microeconometrics, community innovation survey
Jel Code: L13, O30, O32