Using a large sample of 4,545 US firms over the period 1968-2018, we find robust and significant positive peer effects on corporate innovation. Consistent with the need to keep ahead or abreast of rivals, we document an increase in peer firms' influence with product market competition. Our further analyses show interesting leader-follower interactions with firms following or adopting innovation policies of counterparts perceived or likely to have superior information. This finding supports the information-based motives of mimicking. More importantly, we show that adopting peers' innovation policies is associated with improvements in long-term innovation outputs and product market performance. Our results suggest that peer effects are a critical determinant of corporate innovation in addition to other factors examined so far in the literature.
- Research and development (R\&D)
- peer effects
- product market competition
- heterogeneity effects