Business Strategy and Public Policy
Edited by Yannis Caloghirou, Nicholas S. Vonortas and Stavros Ioannides
Chapter 2: Research Joint Ventures: A Survey of the Theoretical Literature
Yannis Caloghirou, Stavros Ioannides and Nicholas S. Vonortas The phenomenon of cooperative R&D has attracted a great deal of both theoretical and empirical work in recent years, for a variety of reasons. Let us just mention two here. The ﬁrst is that the growing willingness of ﬁrms to engage in cooperative R&D – thus sharing control over it – seems to contradict the long held conviction that R&D constitutes the absolute ‘core’ of the ﬁrm’s essence. Thus cooperative R&D seems to raise questions that lie at the heart of the nature of the ﬁrm, as this is perceived by economic theory. Secondly, the explanation of the RJV phenomenon may have major implications for policy. If RJVs are viewed as eﬀorts by participating ﬁrms to restrict competition, then policy should be directed against them, on the basis of well-established antitrust principles. If, on the other hand, RJVs are viewed as helping the cooperating ﬁrms to build competitive advantages while, at the same time, leaving the competitive market framework unchanged, they should be encouraged. This chapter presents and discusses critically various theoretical approaches to RJVs and attempts to link these approaches to the underlying theories of the ﬁrm. We thus take heed of Ronald Coase’s question ‘What determines what a ﬁrm does?’; and of his response that ‘To answer this question, it is necessary to understand why a ﬁrm exists at all . . .’ (1972, p. 62). According to the logic of this statement, diﬀering explanations of what...
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