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Rewarding Innovation: Improving Federal Tax Support for Business R&D in Canada

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  • Mark Parsons

    (PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P.)

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    Abstract

    Business innovation is viewed by many as a solution to Canada’s ailing productivity performance. One of the more troubling aspects of Canada’s innovation track record is that businesses spend relatively little on research and development (R&D) despite having access to some of the world’s most generous R&D tax incentives. Canada’s low levels of business R&D have called into question the effectiveness of Canada’s generous R&D tax incentives, particularly the flagship federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program. A deeper analysis, however, reveals that tax incentives are effective in stimulating more R&D – that is, Canada would have lower levels of business R&D in the absence of these inducements. Instead, the root cause of Canada’s business R&D deficit appears to stem from structural aspects of the economy and, more importantly, a lack of demand-related pressure to pursue innovation.

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    File URL: http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/Commentary_334.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its journal C.D. Howe Institute Commentary.

    Volume (Year): (2011)
    Issue (Month): 334 (September)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:cdh:commen:334

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    Related research

    Keywords: Fiscal and Tax Competitiveness; Canada; research and development (R&D) incentives; Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program;

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Braido, Luis & da Costa, Carlos & Dahlby, Bev, 2009. "Adverse Selection and Risk Aversion in Capital Markets," Working Papers 2009-15, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 24 Mar 2009.
    2. Brown, James R. & Martinsson, Gustav & Petersen, Bruce C., 2012. "Do financing constraints matter for R&D?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1512-1529.
    3. Charles I. Jones & John C. Williams, 1998. "Measuring The Social Return To R&D," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1119-1135, November.
    4. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2000. "Mapping the Two Faces of R&D: Productivity Growth in a Panel of OECD Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0458, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Richard M. Bird & Michael Smart, 2008. "The Impact on Investment of Replacing a Retail Sales Tax by a Value-Added Tax: Evidence from Canadian Experience," Working Papers Series 15, Rotman Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Jun 2008.
    6. Danny Leung & Césaire Meh & Yaz Terajima, 2008. "Productivity in Canada: Does Firm Size Matter?," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2008(Autumn), pages 7-16.
    7. Jungsoo Park, 2004. "International and Intersectoral R&D Spillovers in the OECD and East Asian Economies," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(4), pages 739-757, October.
    8. Aled ab Iorwerth, . "Canada’s Low Business R&D Intensity: the Role of Industry Composition," Working Papers-Department of Finance Canada 2005-03, Department of Finance Canada.
    9. Bronwyn H. Hall & John van Reenen, 1999. "How Effective are Fiscal Incentives for R&D? A New Review of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Andrew Sharpe, 2010. "Unbundling Canada's Weak Productivity Performance," CSLS Research Reports 2010-02, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    11. Duanjie Chen & Frank C. Lee & Jack M. Mintz, 2002. "Taxation, SMEs and Entrepreneurship," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2002/9, OECD Publishing.
    12. Bev Dahlby, 2008. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds: Theory and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042509, December.
    13. Jeffrey I. Bernstein, 1988. "Costs of Production, Intra- and Interindustry R&D Spillovers: Canadian Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(2), pages 324-47, May.
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