Family firms are known for their reluctance to invest in research and development. We show that strengthened trade secret protection is associated with higher R&D investment by family firms. More specifically, we show that the association between the strength of trade secret protection through the U.S. Uniform Trade Secrets Act and R&D investment is positively moderated by family control. Our results further show that the positive moderation of family control on the association between the strength of trade secret protection and R&D investment varies with the industry context, being stronger in high tech industries and weaker in discrete product industries.
Hussinger, Katrin and Wunnam Issah (2022), Trade Secret Protection and R&D Investment of Family Firms, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 22-039, Mannheim.