Does R&D protect SMEs from the hardness of the cycle? Evidence from Spanish SMEs (1990-2009)

  • Dolores Añón-Higón
  • Miguel Manjón-Antolin
  • Juan A. Mañez
  • Juan A. Sanchis-Llopis


This paper analyses whether undertaking R&D activities allows SMEs to attenuate the negative impact of recessions on productivity. In contrast to other studies we use a firm level indicator of the cycle based on firms’ own perceptions, while total factor productivity is obtained using a control function methodology in which we recognise the potential role that R&D experience might have in shaping future firms’ productivity. The analysis is performed using a representative sample of Spanish SMEs for the period 1990–2009. Results show both that R&D activities render positive productivity returns, and that performing R&D helps to alleviate the negative effects of downturns on productivity. Additionally, R&D seems to have a countercyclical effect upon SME’s productivity over the business cycle, as we find that SMEs R&D productivity premium in recessions doubles that of expansions.


TFP Business cycle R&D 



We acknowledge financial support from Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (projects ECO2011-25033, ECO2011-30323-C03-02 and SEJ2010-19088/ECON), the Generalitat Valenciana (project PROMETEO/068), and the "Xarxa de Referència d’R+D+I en Economia i Polítiques Públiques" and the SGR Programme (2009-SGR-322) of the Catalan Government. Usual disclaimers apply.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dolores Añón-Higón
    • 1
  • Miguel Manjón-Antolin
    • 2
  • Juan A. Mañez
    • 1
  • Juan A. Sanchis-Llopis
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultat d’Economia Avda dels Tarongers, Department of Applied Economics II and ERICESUniversitat de València s/nValenciaSpain
  2. 2.QURE-CREIP Department of EconomicsUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliTarragonaSpain

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