• Corporate Governance;
  • Creditor Rights;
  • Corporate Innovation;
  • R&D Intensity


Manuscript Type: Empirical

Research Question/Issue: This study examines the impact of creditor rights on R&D intensity (R&D/total assets). We argue that managers in countries with strong creditor rights have more incentives to reduce cash flow risk and therefore limit expenditures on R&D more than managers located in countries with weak creditor rights.

Research Findings/Insights: Using a sample of over 21,000 firms from 41 countries, our research is one of the first to document that strong creditor rights are indeed associated with reduced R&D intensity. This negative relationship is observed in market-based countries, but not in bank-based countries. Moreover, the results show that the negative effect of creditor rights on R&D intensity is usually stronger (more negative) for firms facing or near financial distress. We observe that the determinants for R&D intensity consist of both country and firm level variables and firm level variables appear to be more important in explaining the variance of R&D intensity.

Theoretical/Academic Implications: This study documents an important link between creditor rights and R&D intensity. Our empirical procedure specifically accounts for the fact that R&D intensity and debt are likely to be jointly determined.

Practitioner/Policy Implications: This research is important to policy makers interested in understanding the determinants of firms' R&D intensity. In particular, our study suggests a possible harmful effect of strong creditor rights, namely the possibility that R&D intensity will be lowered.