January 2015

No. 8790: Innovation and SMEs Patent Propensity in Korea

Junghee Han, Almas Heshmati

This paper analyzes the patent propensity as an outcome of innovative activities of regional SMEs. To achieve the aims, we apply robust regression analysis to estimate the models to test 5 research hypotheses using 263 firm level data located at Gwangju region in Korea. Our empirical results show that a firm's industry characteristics, such as machinery and automotive parts industry, is negatively related with propensity to patent innovation. Also, unlike expectations, the InnoBiz firms designated as innovative SMEs by the government are not performing differently than general firms. Only the CEO's academic credentials are positively related with propensity to patent. From the findings, we can conclude that patenting propensity is not directly related with a firm's characteristics but mainly to CEO's managerial strategy. Also, we cannot find evidence for policy effectiveness from public support given to InnoBiz firms as part of the state policy to nurture photonic industry to boost regional economic development. Given the lack of strong policy effects, a new industry policy should be considered to actively promote SMEs innovativeness.