Small Business Economics

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 505–528 | Cite as

The determinants of R&D persistence in SMEs

  • Juan A. Máñez
  • María E. Rochina-Barrachina
  • Amparo Sanchis-Llopis
  • Juan A. Sanchis-Llopis


This paper analyses the sources of persistence in conducting R&D activities by SMEs. The data used are a panel of Spanish manufacturing firms drawn from the Survey of Business Strategies, for the period 1990–2011. We estimate discrete time proportional hazard models accounting for firm observed and unobserved heterogeneity. Our results are consistent with a process of learning associated with the accumulation of R&D capital and with a self-sustained effect of engagement in R&D activities. In addition, we obtain that persistence in R&D in SMEs is also related to the success-breeds-success, sunk costs and demand-pull hypotheses. Finally, our findings also uncover some interesting differences in the underlying drivers of R&D persistence of SMEs as compared to their larger counterparts.


SMEs R&D activities Persistence Learning Success-breeds-success Sunk costs Demand-pull Discrete time survival models 

JEL Classifications

C41 L60 O31 L26 



Financial support from the Ministry of Science and Technology in Spain, Projects numbers ECO2011-30323-C03-02 and ECO2011-25033, from the Generalitat Valenciana, PROMETEOII/2014/054, and from the University of Valencia through the programme Micro-clusters VLC/CAMPUS 2011–2013, is gratefully acknowledged. We would also like to thank Fundación SEPI for providing the data. Usual disclaimers apply.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan A. Máñez
    • 1
  • María E. Rochina-Barrachina
    • 1
  • Amparo Sanchis-Llopis
    • 1
  • Juan A. Sanchis-Llopis
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Economía Aplicada IIUniversitat de València and ERI-CESValenciaSpain

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