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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

Robots, ICT and EU employment

Disruptive technologies based on ICT, robots, and artificial intelligence have transformed labour markets through their important effects on employment. As the number of industrial robots continues to rise, our results imply that some measures to facilitate workforce transition and accommodate the rise of automation might be needed to maintain satisfactory labour market outcomes.

By: David Pichler, Georgios Petropoulos and Francesco Chiacchio Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 15, 2018
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This event hosted Professor Marshall van Alstyne who presented his research on fake news and on the potential solutions of the associated problems. A panel discussed the routes of the fake news problem and how we can design an effective policy response.

Speakers: Marshall Van Alstyne, Anni Hellman, Thomas Myrup Kristensen, Efi Koutsokosta and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 8, 2018
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The European automotive sector: future challenges and opportunities

On 6 June Bruegel is organising a closed-door brainstorming workshop on: The European automotive sector: future challenges and opportunities.

Speakers: Simone Tagliapietra, Reinhilde Veugelers, Stefan Deix and Giovanni Coppola Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 6, 2018
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Podcast

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Robots: Positive or negative for EU employment?

Bruegel research fellow Georgios Petropoulos features in this episode of ‘The Sound of Economics’ to discuss a study he has co-authored on the impact of robotisation on employment in Europe.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 29, 2018
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Upcoming Event

Sep
3-4
08:30

Bruegel Annual Meetings 2018

The 2018 Annual Meetings will be held on 3-4 September and will feature sessions on European and global economic governance, as well as finance, energy and innovation.

Speakers: Maria Åsenius, Richard E. Baldwin, Maria Demertzis, Mariya Gabriel, Péter Kaderják, Joanne Kellermann, Jörg Kukies, Bruno Le Maire, Philippe Lespinard, Montserrat Mir Roca, Dominique Moïsi, Jean Pierre Mustier, Emma Navarro, Ana Palacio, Lucrezia Reichlin, André Sapir, Jean-Claude Trichet, Margrethe Vestager, Reinhilde Veugelers, Georg Zachmann and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Brussels Comic Strip Museum, Rue des Sables 20, 1000 Brussels
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Working Paper

How big is China’s digital economy?

The rise of influential Chinese digital giants, including Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi has shown the world that China is a global leader in digital innovation and it is not surprising that China has started to influence the global digital market. But is China exploiting its full potential in this area? To answer this question, the authors assess how big China’s digital economy is relative to the rest of its economy, and how China performs compared to the rest of the world.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Jianwei Xu Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 17, 2018
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Blog Post

Germany’s current account surplus and corporate investment

Following the 1990s post-reunification period and since the beginning of monetary union, Germany's current account has grown substantially. In the crisis years, Germany’s lost about 15 percentage points of GDP in its external investments, but the position continues to grow nevertheless. What are the drivers behind Germany’s current account surplus?

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 9, 2018
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Blog Post

How e-commerce reshapes markets and firms’ strategies

The development of e-commerce has affected both demand and supply fundamentals of markets, changing the way competition works. In the effort to develop a frictionless and welfare maximizing digital single market across the EU, it is necessary to carefully review the disruptive forces on e-commerce on markets and firms’ strategies.

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 7, 2018
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Past Event

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Speakers: Andrus Ansip, George Christou, Jakub Boratyński, Christian Borggreen, Adina Claici, Maria Demertzis, Roland Doll, Lie Junius, Thomas Kramler, Patrick Legros, J. Scott Marcus, David Martin Ruiz, Eva Maydell, Georgios Petropoulos, Siada El Ramly, Oliver Roethig, Aidan Ryan, André Sapir, Mark Smitham, Maximilian Strotmann, Reinhilde Veugelers, Guntram B. Wolff and Andrew W. Wyckoff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 23, 2018
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Working Paper

The impact of industrial robots on EU employment and wages: A local labour market approach

In theory, robots can directly displace workers from performing specific tasks (displacement effect). But they can also expand labour demand through the efficiencies they bring to industrial production (productivity effect). This working paper adopts the local labour market equilibrium approach developed by Acemoglu and Restrepo to assess which effects dominate and the impact of robots on wage growth and employment rate in Europe.

By: Francesco Chiacchio, Georgios Petropoulos and David Pichler Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: April 18, 2018
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Past Event

Past Event

Robots and artificial intelligence: The next frontier for employment and EU economic policy

This event looked at the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on employment, wages and EU economic policy.

Speakers: Pat Bajari, Julia Bock-Schappelwein, Anna Byhovskaya, Paola Maniga, Mario Mariniello, Clara Neppel, Loukas Stemitsiotis, Georgios Petropoulos and Barry O’Sullivan Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 18, 2018
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Past Event

Past Event

Corporate taxation in the digital era

How can we address digital taxation in the EU? Is the proposed "equalisation tax" on turnover the best policy to tackle the challenges posed by digital taxation?

Speakers: Johannes Becker, Dmitri Jegorov, Maria Demertzis, Stephen Quest, Stef van Weeghel and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 24, 2018
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