Intangible assets and the efficiency of manufacturing firms in the age of digitalisation: the Russian case
A wide consensus exists on the role of intangible assets in both developed and developing economies, especially now, with the new generation of information and communication technologies. Emerging economies generally demonstrate lower endowment with intangibles (Dutz et al., 2012), but follow the same positive patterns for long-run development. In Russia, the contribution of intangibles to growth is still modest, and its capacity to foster productivity has not been achieved. As previous studies showed, efficiency represents one of the main channels of total factor productivity growth. This paper studies the effects of intangibles on the efficiency of Russian manufacturing firms in 2009–2018. Considering the heterogeneity of sectors and firms, the stochastic frontier model is applied. In general, the impact of intangibles is positive but small and influenced by external shocks and structural features. The paper provides evidence on different contributions of intangibles to efficiency for hightech and low-tech firms and its change over time. It contributes to the strand of literature regarding the technical efficiency measurement on the microlevel. On the practical side, the paper suggests an analytical framework for differentiated policy mechanisms to drive investments in intangibles, which are essential for current digital transformation.