R&D and financial systems: the determinants of R&D expenditures in the Swedish pharmaceutical industry
CIRCLE and Economic History, Lund University, Sweden
Last modified: February 21, 2008
This study investigates the determinants of R&D expenditures in the Swedish pharmaceutical industry from the 1960s to the mid 1990s. Various proxies for the rate of return of R&D (e.g. expected profit, sales and R&D productivity) as well as the availability of internal funding (proxied by past cash flows) have been used as explanatory variables in time series regressions. Past cash flow comes out as significant in regressions both at industry level and at firm level (made for each of the two largest companies). Another factor that is significant in most cases is expected sales. However, productivity of the R&D process does not seem to influence R&D expenditures. A comparison of these conclusions with studies of the pharmaceutical industries in countries with different financial systems; the US (with a market based financial system) and Japan (with a more bank based financial system) shows that Sweden (also leaning towards a bank based financial system) has the insensitivity to R&D productivity in common with Japan. This may be interpreted as these industries’ are taking a ‘longer term view’ on their research than the US’. The sensitivity to cash flow, however, is possibly more pronounced in Sweden than in Japan and suggests an important role of internal financing of R&D.