Are knowledge-intensive business services so “hard” innovators? Some insights using Spanish microdata

Par Mercedes Rodriguez, José Antonio Camacho Ballesta
Knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) have received great attention over the last years, in part due to their similarities with high-innovative manufacturing firms. Nevertheless, many innovations carried out by KIBS are of a soft nature. The objective of this paper is to identify patterns of innovation in KIBS firms when non-technological innovation is taken into account. To do so, we employ microdata for 1,837 Spanish KIBS firms. The results obtained show that there are important differences in the innovation behaviour of KIBS firms. In particular, four innovation modes are distinguished: hard innovation, soft innovation, lonely innovation and knowledge diffusion. These modes are evenly distributed within KIBS industries and in three out of the four modes soft innovation plays a relevant role.
JEL codes: L84, O39
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