In this paper, we explore the relationship between the human capital “embodied” in the workforce and the innovative capabilities of the firm, adopting an international comparative perspective. In fact data come from a survey (EFIGE) run in seven European countries during the 2007-2009 period. They are analysed with several models of multivariate analysis also with the support of a semi-parametric model. Our results show a positive relationship between the ratio of graduated employees and the percentage of turnover from innovative products, being the share of personnel employed in R&D constant. This relationship is not linear: we find decreasing marginal returns for human capital and R&D. We then find a complementarity between human capital and R&D: the strength of the link between human capital and innovation is higher when the firm’s R&D increases. We also find some significant differences in the intensity of the human capital/innovation link across different countries.
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