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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: Innovation & Competition Policy

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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Blog Post

Getting better all the time: The benefits of learning for decarbonisation

The technological development will dramatically impact decarbonisation cost. In this blog post, the author suggests that national decarbonisation strategies should put a special emphasis on the benefits of learning.

By: Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: April 16, 2019
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Blog Post

Is this blog post legal (under new EU copyright law)?

How new EU rules on using snippets from news publishers and on copyright infringement liability might affect circulation of information, revenue distribution, market power and EU business competitiveness.

By: Catarina Midoes Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 8, 2019
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Podcast

Podcast

Director’s Cut: How to make Industry 4.0 work for Europe

Bruegel director Guntram Wolff talks to Padmashree Gehl Sampath, a Berkman Klein fellow at Harvard University, on the consequences of ‘new manufacturing’ for European industrial policymaking.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: April 2, 2019
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Past Event

Past Event

Vision Europe Dialogue 2019

How could we make Europe a pioneer of the fair data economy?

Speakers: Mikko Kosonen, Alexander Stubb and Jaana Sinipuro Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Urban Events House Bank, Unioninkatu 20, Helsinki, Suomi Date: April 1, 2019
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Past Event

Past Event

Changing relationships between Europe and Africa in the face of technological development – can digitalisation, AI and the platform economy help bridge the gap?

This event will look at digitalisation in Europe and Africa and how this is changing the relationship between the two continents

Speakers: Masood Ahmed, Charles Kenny, Susan Lund, J. Scott Marcus and Amolo Ng’weno Topic: Global Economics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: 1 Abbey Gardens, Great College Street, London, SW1P 3SE Date: March 27, 2019
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Podcast

Podcast

Backstage: 5G deployment in Europe

This episode of 'The Sound of Economics' features Bruegel senior fellow J. Scott Marcus in conversation with Lise Fuhr, director general, European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO).

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: March 21, 2019
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Past Event

Past Event

Rethinking industrial policy in the digital age: challenges for Europe

All-day conference about how the European policy-making will have to adapt to the digital transformation.

Speakers: Philipp-Bastian Brutscher, Teunis Brosens, Maarten Camps, Lise Fuhr, Padmashree Gehl Sampath, Andreas Geiss, Tony Graziano, Mathew Heim, Thorsten Käseberg, Thomas Kramler, Robert Kroplewski, Timothy Lamb, J. Scott Marcus, Philip Marsden, Jan Mischke, Joakim Reiter, Megan Richards, Valentino Rossi, Marietje Schaake, Reinhilde Veugelers, Guntram B. Wolff and Georg Zachmann Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 21, 2019
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Opinion

China's strategy: Growth, alliances, and tech acquisition

Despite the pause in the US-China trade war, the US and China are strategic competitors, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. China realizes that there is little room to settle long-term disputes and, as a result has shifted towards a strategy that focuses on sustaining growth at any cost, expanding alliances, and advancing its technology.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: February 27, 2019
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Opinion

What can the EU do to keep its firms globally relevant?

There is a fear that EU companies will find it increasingly difficult to be on top of global value chains. Many argue that EU-based firms simply lack the critical scale to compete and, in order to address this problem, that Europe’s merger control should become less strict. But the real question is where the EU can strengthen itself beyond the realm of competition policy.

By: Georgios Petropoulos and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 15, 2019
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Podcast

Podcast

Deep Focus: Developing Europe's digital single market

Bruegel senior fellow J. Scott Marcus joins Sean Gibson for this episode of Deep Focus on the 'The Sound of Economics', elaborating on a Bruegel study for the European Parliament into the progress made with the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy since 2015.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 12, 2019
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External Publication

Contribution to Growth: The European Digital Single Market

Numerous legislative measures have been initiated or enacted in support of the overall achievement of a Digital Single Market (DSM). This in-depth analysis provides a brief stock-taking of what has been achieved in economic terms, of what remains to be done, and of candidate initiatives for the next legislative term.

By: J. Scott Marcus, Georgios Petropoulos and Timothy Yeung Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 12, 2019
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Past Event

Past Event

Is the European automotive industry ready for the global electric vehicle revolution?

How can Europe catch up on the global electric vehicle race?

Speakers: Eric Feunteun, Jacques Pieraerts, Julia Poliscanova, Simone Tagliapietra and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Energy & Climate, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 12, 2019
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