The disaggregated technology production function: A new model of university and corporate research
Gregory C. Tassey
Technology and the process that produces it, research and development (R&D), are typically characterized as homogeneous entities. In reality, the typical industrial technology is composed of three elements: a generic technology base, supporting infratechnologies, and proprietary market applications (innovations). The first two have public good characteristics, and therefore, explicitly modeling them is essential for public policy purposes. The fundamental relationships among these elements require a technology production function that captures the supporting roles of the public good elements in creating proprietary applied technology. These critical quasi-public technology goods are supplied to a significant extent by exogenous (external) sources: central corporate research labs, government labs, and increasingly, universities. The expanding university role beyond basic research complicates the structure and functioning of the national R&D establishment and increases the need for a more accurate model of technological change to better inform R&D policy. Moreover, in assessing the resulting applied technologys impact on economic growth, both the general and partial equilibrium literatures enter the technology variable into a production function with the common production assets (physical capital and labor). Such models obscure an important distinction between technology and these production assetsnamely, the fact that technology is primarily a demand-shifting asset. As such, its role is correctly specified only when combined with the other major demand-shifting asset, marketing. Allocations to these two assets vary across competing firms implying a spatial model of competition, while still providing traceability to the exogenous sources of public good technology elements, such as universities.
public good technologies, research and development, R&D, investment risk, market failure, knowledge production function
The disaggregated technology production function: A new model of university and corporate research, Research Policy, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=912237
(Accessed March 1, 2024)