Intangible assets and labour productivity growth

The aim of this paper is to explore the contribution to labour productivity growth of investment in different single intangible asset types in manufacturing industry for a set of 9 European member states between 1995 and 2010. The results should help us to identify which single or mix of intangible assets types are the main drivers of labour productivity growth in order to define adequate industrial policy measures to promote a better performance of it. Three findings have emerged: first, the contribution of economic competencies - specifically vocational training and advertising and marketing - is the most important. Secondly, there are heterogeneous effects of investment in intangible assets on labour productivity growth in the different considered EU countries. Splitting the sample of EU member states in two groups permits to identify a significant differentiated behaviour between groups. But the characteristics of the countries inside each group are not homogenous enough to define only common measures. This fact provides the answer to the third research question on the implications in terms of industrial policy. We conclude that measures promoting investment in intangibles at EU level should be accompanied by specific measures focusing each country’s needs for the purpose of promoting labour productivity growth.