Ping-Sheng Koh, David M. Reeb, Elvira Sojli, Wing Wah Tham, and Wendun Wang
The absence of observable innovation data for a firm often leads us to exclude or classify these firms as non-innovators. We assess the reliability of six methods for dealing with unreported innovation using several different counterfactuals for firms without reported R&D or patents. These tests reveal that excluding firms without observable innovation or imputing them as zero innovators and including a dummy variable can lead to biased parameter estimates for observed innovation and other explanatory variables. Excluding firms without patents is especially problematic, leading to false-positive results in empirical tests. Our tests suggest using multiple imputation to handle unreported innovation.