cific means by which SEMATECH was to do so were the subject of considerable debate, and SEMATECH’s focus zigged and zagged in its first few years of existence. It was restricted to U.S. companies; Japanese producer NEC, which had a U.S. production plant, was turned away when it sought to join in 1988.3

A number of U.S. semiconductor materials and equipment producers formed a complementary organization, SEMI/SEMATECH, in 1987 specifically for the purpose of cooperating with SEMATECH. SEMI/SEMATECH was granted SEMATECH membership and a seat on the SEMATECH board of directors, and became the official vehicle for the organization of SEMATECH development projects and the teaming of materials and equipment producers. In 2000 SEMI/ SEMATECH renamed itself the Semiconductor Industry Suppliers Association (SISA).

Given the relatively large theoretical literature on R&D cooperation that sprang up in the late 1980s and thereafter,4 there has been surprisingly little empirical analysis of the impacts of R&D cooperation on industrial R&D.5 The highest profile R&D consortium in the United States, SEMATECH, appears to have been the subject of precisely three studies with any claim to rigor. One study, undertaken by Link, Teece, and Finan, calculated an internal private rate of return for SEMATECH member companies on a sample of SEMATECH projects that


Good resources on the history of SEMATECH are SEMATECH’s own Web site at <> and the corporate chronology contained within; W.I. Spencer and P. Grindley, “SEMATECH After Five Years: High Technology Consortia and U.S. Competitiveness,” California Management Review, vol. 35, 1993; P. Grindley, D.C. Mowery, and B. Silverman, “SEMATECH and Collaborative Research: Lessons in the Design of a High-Technology Consortia,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 13, 1994; L.D. Browning and J.C. Shetler, SEMATECH, Saving the U.S. Semiconductor Industry, College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2000; John Brendan Horrigan, “Cooperation Among Competitors in Research Consortia,” unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, December 1996. For an overview of the consortium’s contributions and its relationship to other policies, see National Research Council, Conflict and Cooperation in National Competition for High-Technology Industry, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1996, especially p. 48 and supplements A and B.


For example, M.L. Katz, “An Analysis of Cooperative Research and Development,” RAND Journal of Economics, vol. 17, 1986; C. D’Aspremont and A. Jacquemin, “Cooperative and Noncooperative R&D in Duopoly with Spillovers,” American Economic Review, vol. 78, 1988; M.L. Katz and J.A. Ordover, “R&D Cooperation and Competition,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity: Microeconomics 1990; M.I. Kamien, E. Muller, and I. Zang, “Research Joint Ventures and R&D Cartels,” American Economic Review, vol. 82, 1992; R.D. Simpson and N.S. Vonortas, “Cournot Equilibrium with Imperfectly Appropriable R&D,” Journal of Industrial Economics, vol. 42, 1994.


In addition to the SEMATECH studies mentioned here, see M. Sakakibara, “Evaluating Government-sponsored R&D Consortia in Japan: Who Benefits and How?” Research Policy, vol. 26, No. 4-5, December, 1997; L.G. Branstetter and M. Sakakibara, “Japanese Research Consortia: A Microeconometric Analysis of Industrial Policy,” Journal of Industrial Economics, vol. 46, June 1998; L.G. Branstetter and M. Sakakibara, “When Do Research Consortia Work Well and Why? Evidence from Japanese Panel Data,” NBER Working Paper No. W7972, October 2000, for empirical studies of Japanese R&D consortia.

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