Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Innovative performance of Iranian knowledge-based firms: Large firms or SMEs?

JavadNoori a,MahdiBagheri Nasrabadi a,b,NajmoddinYazdi b,aAli RezaBabakhan b,a 
aResearch Institute for Science, Technology and Industry Policy (RISTIP); Sharif University of Technology, No. 2, Gohar Dd.End., Teimouri st., Ghasemi st., Habibollahi st., Azadi st., Tehran, Iran
bIran University of Science and Technology, Postal Code 1684613114, Denshgah st., Hengam st., Resalat sq., Tehran, Iran

a r t i c l e i n f o

Received 7 July 2015
Revised 25 April 2016
Accepted 27 April 2016
Available online 13 May 2016

a b s t r a c t

The debate over innovativeness of large firms and SMEs, which was bolded by Schumpeter, still continues under mixed empirical evidences. There are several implications for this debate including policy orientation in support of large firms or SMEs. But there is a scarce of studies in developing countries and no such study in Iran yet. The present study has explored the proportionality of increase of innovation activity versus firm size within 522 Iranian knowledge-based firms categorized in 9 industries. Innovation activity was measured by R&D expenditure while firm size stood for number of employees. Using log–log regression in the first phase, it was found that R&D expenditure confirms a significantly more than proportionate relationship with firm size, on a continuous spectrum of size, which is in line with Schumpeter’s idea in favor of large firms. The second phase of the study utilized analysis of covariance to treat firm size categorically using quantitative covariate of physical capital structure. The second results complemented the first, in the sense that categories of small-, medium-, and large-sized firms had significantly different mean innovation activity under a same physical capital structure. It should be noted that these conclusive results were derived just for the industries that sufficiently had a large number of observations (firms); otherwise, the results seem mixed. Of course, the results should be interpreted within the features of the database and measurement indicators.

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