The role of political ties and political uncertainty in corporate innovation
We examine the relationship between firms' political connections and corporate innovation in a European context. We also consider the moderating effect of political connections on the relationship between political uncertainty and firms' innovation. We use two different metrics of innovation: R&D (an input measure), and patent counts (an output measure). We find that firms with former politicians on their board of directors invest less in R&D than their counterpart firms. However, the presence of this type of director on the board is positively associated with the number of a firm's patent applications. It seems that, although political ties reduce the amount of resources devoted to R&D activities, they increase the effectiveness of intellectual rights protection. Results also show that political uncertainty decreases R&D investment but exacerbates the need for legal protection of innovation through patents. According to our results, political connections attenuate the effect of political uncertainty on firm innovation such that the negative (positive) effect of uncertainty on R&D intensity (patents) weakens when the firm is politically connected.