TitleThe Return on R&D Versus Capital Expenditures in the Pharmaceutical and Chemistry Industies
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHsieh, P-H, Mishra, CS, Gobeli, D
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Pagination141 -150
Date Published2003
KeywordsMBA, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain

The impact of research and development (R&D) on firm performance is generally agreed to be positive, but the nature and extent of this impact share little agreement in the previous research. Using an improved, time series, cross-sectional regression model that accounts for both contemporaneous and firm-specific serial correlation, as well as the feedback between firm profitability and investments, our study compares the rate of return from a dollar investment on R&D to a dollar investment on fixed assets in pharmaceutical and chemical industries. We find positive associations of R&D intensity and all variables of firm performance (net margin, operating margin, sales growth, and market value). We find that an investment in R&D earns an operating margin return much higher than the industry cost of capital. We also find that the effect of an investment in R&D on the firm's market value is about twice as much the effect of an investment in fixed assets. These findings have implications for corporate investment strategies, indicating that additional R&D investment is more likely to provide a firm with a unique and sustainable competitive advantage.