Is more always better? On the relevance of decreasing returns to scale on innovation
EntityUAM. Departamento de Análisis Económico, Teoría Económica e Historia Económica
10.1016/j.technovation.2021.102314Technovation 107 (2021): 102314
Funded byThe authors acknowledge financial support from the Comunidad de Madrid Government, under grant H2019/HUM-5761 (INNJOBMAD-CM). Prof. Jos´e L. Zofío acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the State Research Agency under grants EIN 2020- 112260/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and PID2019-105952GB-I00/ AEI/10.13039/501100011033. Assoc. Prof. Jon Mikel Zabala- Iturriagagoitia acknowledges financial support from the Basque Government, Department of Education, Language Policy and Culture, under grant IT 885–16
ProjectComunidad de Madrid. H2019/HUM-5761/INNJOBMAD-CM
SubjectsData envelopment analysis; European innovation scoreboard; Innovation performance; Innovation policy; Innovation system; TOPSIS; Economía
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.
We contribute to the literature on the assessment of innovation systems by relating the amount of inputs available to the system and its performance through the concept of returns to scale (increasing, constant or decreasing). We study to what extent the size or scale of innovation systems relates to their performance, which is estimated through frontier Data Envelopment Analysis-TOPSIS methods, which overcome several limitations of the standard DEA approach. Using the same data provided by the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) for years 2010, 2013 and 2016, our results indicate that countries with a high innovation scale tend to overinvest in innovation inputs. This results into scale inefficiencies stemming from decreasing returns, leading to lower productivity levels. Thanks to DEA-TOPSIS we identify the best and worst performing innovation systems. This provides helpful information by setting suitable reference benchmarks for policy analysis and decision-making. Our results question the current allocation of resources and call for a reconsideration of how innovation policies are designed in many European countries. We conclude that for the EIS to become a useful instrument for the definition of innovation policies, it should consider the nature of returns to scale. This would allow policymakers to identify problems and limitations related to the size of their respective innovation systems, and hence, design holistic innovation policies to act upon them
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