Recent empirical work has examined the extent to which national and international spillovers affect the functioning of a firm. Foreign direct investment and trade have been shown to serve as channels for the mediation of knowledge spillovers. The aim of this paper is to analyse whether, and to what extent, firm ability to innovate is induced by firm’s own R&D activity and what is the effect of factors external to firm. We first estimate the impact of firms' internal R&D capital and external R&D spillovers on innovation activity within an integrated dynamic model. In the second step, we proceed to estimate the impact of firms' innovations on productivity growth. Using firm-level innovation and accounting data for a large sample of Slovenian firms from 1996-2002, the paper produces some interesting findings. First, firm R&D expenditures as well as external knowledge spillovers, such as national and international public R&D subsidies, foreign ownership and intra-sector innovation spillovers foster the ability of firms to innovate. Second, innovations resulting from firm’s R&D may contribute substantially to its total factor productivity growth. Here, foreign ownership is shown to have a dual impact on firm’s TFP growth - while it enhances firm ability to innovate it also contributes to TFP growth via superior organization techniques and other channels of knowledge diffusion. These results, however, are not robust to different econometric techniques. By using matching techniques and firm propensity to innovate in order to match innovating firms with otherwise similar non-innovating firms we find no support for the importance of innovation on productivity growth.
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