This article focuses on the relationship between external R&D and firm innovation output. Using a sample of Italian manufacturing firms over the period 2007–2009, we estimate the effect of R&D collaboration with the aim to detect differences between family and non-family firms. The study shows that the R&D acquired from external sources has a positive impact on innovative sales, especially for family firms. This result holds when using either the extensive or the intensive margins of R&D collaboration, thereby suggesting that family companies have a greater capacity to translate external R&D into tangible economic benefits. We also find that family firms benefit from the diversity of R&D collaboration.
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