Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation
New evidence on intangibles, diffusion and productivity
This paper presents new evidence on the impact of intangible capital on productivity
dispersion within industries. It first shows that rise in productivity dispersion
after 2000 is more pronounced in intangible-intensive industries; then analyses the
link between intangible capital intensity and productivity dispersion both at the
top and at the bottom of the productivity distribution, and in different industries.
The findings suggest that industries that have experienced a stronger increase in
intangible investment have also seen a steeper rise in productivity dispersion both
at the top and at the bottom of the productivity distribution. While the results at
the top seem to be associated with the scalability of intangible capital – which is
likely to disproportionally benefit high-productivity firms and incumbents – dispersion
at the bottom appears to be linked to complementarities between intangible investment
and factors like digital intensity, trade openness and venture capital.