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Policy Contribution

Are European firms falling behind in the global corporate research race?

The author looks at how concentrated corporate R&D is in Europe, compared with sales and employment. The US and China are more likely to produce new R&D leaders that take over some of the top positions from incumbent R&D leaders. How is the EU coping with technology shifts and creating the next generation of new leading firms?

By: Date: April 12, 2018 Topic: Digital economy and innovation

Technological progress, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, is often blamed for the loss of jobs and rising income inequality. It is also linked to increasing inequality in the corporate landscape as superstar firms forge ahead in winner-takes-most markets.

Our analysis shows that in most sectors there is a high degree of concentration among a few top companies in research and development spending. R&D spending is much more concentrated than sales and employment. In 2015, for example, the top 10 percent biggest spenders on R&D, accounted for 71 percent of the R&D spending of the 2500 companies that spend most on R&D. This concentration is most obvious in the high-tech biopharma and digital sectors, though it is also true for other sectors, such as the vehicles sector. US companies are overrepresented among these R&D superstars, especially in digital sectors where they take up half of the top slots.

Over the last decade, there has been little evidence for increasing concentration in the global R&D landscape. On the contrary, a slight decline is discernible. Slight increasing concentration can only be detected in digital sectors, with in particular the top 1 percent of R&D spending firms in these sectors forging ahead.

Although the overall concentration of R&D spending among a few leading firms might not be changing much over time, R&D leaders are slowly losing their positions to new R&D-leading firms. Digital Services is the most turbulent high-tech sector. The US and China are more likely to produce new R&D leaders that take over some of the top positions from incumbent R&D leaders. This poses difficult questions for Europe, which is at risk of losing out in terms of R&D leadership in more technologically advanced sectors.

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Opinion

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs): the next chapter in crypto

As with any new technology, exciting opportunities are being created, but similarly there are risks.

By: Maria Demertzis Topic: Digital economy and innovation Date: January 25, 2022
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Upcoming Event

Feb
10
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Corporate investment during the COVID-19 crisis

How did corporate investment fare during the pandemic? Has government support sufficiently helped firms get through the crisis and prepare for the green and digital transformations ahead?

Speakers: Chiara Criscuolo, Jan Mischke, Ricardo Mourinho, Debora Revoltella and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
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Podcast

Podcast

Make AI boring again

How can AI education improve workers' experience?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: January 19, 2022
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Past Event

Past Event

Productivity and the role of Global Value Chains

The 3rd MICROPROD Policy Dialogue will tackle how Global Value Chains (GVC) and productivity affect the fourth industrial revolution.

Speakers: Carlo Altomonte, Eric Bartelsman, Maria Demertzis and Margit Molnar Topic: Digital economy and innovation Date: January 18, 2022
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Working Paper

Market power and artificial intelligence work on online labour markets

In this working paper, the authors investigate three alternative but complementary indicators of market power on one of the largest online labour markets (OLMs) in Europe.

By: Néstor Duch-Brown, Estrella Gomez-Herrera, Frank Mueller-Langer and Songül Tolan Topic: Digital economy and innovation Date: December 16, 2021
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Blog Post

Inclusive growth

Which platforms will be caught by the Digital Markets Act? The ‘gatekeeper’ dilemma

The scope of the Digital Markets Act has emerged as one of the most contentious issues in the regulatory discussion. Here, we assess which companies could potentially be considered ‘gatekeepers’.

By: Mario Mariniello and Catarina Martins Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: December 14, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

How to deal with small banks: consolidation, tailoring and the fintech challenge

Small banks face multiple challenges. What structural changes are needed to tackle these pressures?

Speakers: Alexander Lehmann, Nicolas Véron, Xavier Vives, Anne Fröhling and Philip Evans Topic: Banking and capital markets Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 9, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

Future of work and inclusive growth: Digital dialogues

An end of year series of digital discussions on the Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe.

Speakers: Janine Berg, Arturo Franco, Stijn Broecke, Esther Lynch, Mario Mariniello, Laura Nurski, Leah Ruppanner, Nicolas Schmit, Kim Van Sparrentak and Tilman Tacke Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 7, 2021
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Blog Post

Inclusive growth

An inclusive European Union must boost gig workers’ rights

A European initiative strengthening rights for gig workers is welcome. A digitised economy should also be inclusive.

By: Mario Mariniello Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: December 7, 2021
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Blog Post

Inclusive growth

The triple constraint on artificial-intelligence advancement in Europe

Skills, data and financing shortcomings constrain artificial-intelligence innovation in Europe.

By: Mia Hoffmann and Laura Nurski Topic: Digital economy and innovation, Inclusive growth Date: December 6, 2021
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External Publication

'In Situ' Data Rights

Privacy empowers individuals to control what is gathered and who sees it; portability permits analysis and creates competition. By moving our data to portals that would share more value in return, we might capture more of our data value. After all, that data concerns us.

By: Bertin Martens, Geoffrey Parker, Georgios Petropoulos and Marshall Van Alstyne Topic: Digital economy and innovation Date: December 1, 2021
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Policy Contribution

What is holding back artificial intelligence adoption in Europe?

To accelerate the roll-out of AI technology across the European Union, policymakers should alleviate constraints to adoption faced by firms, both in the environmental context and in the technological context.

By: Mia Hoffmann and Laura Nurski Topic: Digital economy and innovation Date: November 30, 2021
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