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We analyse both the theoretical and the empirical side of the issue of R&D spillovers. Each firm's R&D costs are increasing in the amount of information transmitted to other firms, and we account for the possibility that firms control spillovers. We consider both Cournot-Nash and Cournot-Stackelberg behavior. The empirical analysis suggests that (i) firms' control on spillovers is relatively low; (ii) the cost-saving effect associated to joint ventures or R&D cartels is confirmed for industries where firms rely mainly upon own R&D as a source of innovation; (iii) R&D cooperation may increase information sharing, thereby enhancing spillovers.