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High-tech R&D subsidies Estimating the effects of Sematech

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  • Irwin, Douglas A.
  • Klenow, Peter J.

Abstract

Sparked by concerns about their shrinking market share, 14 leading U.S. semiconductor producers, with the financial assistance of the U.S. government in the form of $100 million in annual subsidies, formed a joint R&D consortium -- Sematech -- in 1987. Using Compustat data on all U.S. semiconductor firms, we estimate the effects of Sematech on members' R&D spending, profitability, investment, and productivity. In so doing we test two hypotheses: the `commitment' hypothesis that Sematech obligates member firms to spend more on high- spillover R&D, and the `sharing' hypothesis that Sematech reduces duplication of member R&D spending. Whereas the commitment hypothesis provides a rationale for the government subsidies, the sharing hypothesis does not. We find that Sematech induced members to cut their overall R&D spending on the order of $300 million per year, providing support for the sharing hypothesis.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (1996)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (May)
Pages: 323-344

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:40:y:1996:i:3-4:p:323-344

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  1. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Working Papers 518, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Kamien, Morton I & Muller, Eitan & Zang, Israel, 1992. "Research Joint Ventures and R&D Cartels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1293-306, December.
  3. Reinganum, Jennifer F., 1989. "The timing of innovation: Research, development, and diffusion," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 849-908 Elsevier.
  4. Cohen, Linda, 1994. "When Can Government Subsidize Research Joint Ventures? Politics, Economics, and Limits to Technology Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 159-63, May.
  5. Irwin, Douglas A & Klenow, Peter J, 1994. "Learning-by-Doing Spillovers in the Semiconductor Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1200-1227, December.
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