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R&D Tax Policy During the Eighties: Success or Failure?

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  • Bronwyn Hall

Abstract

R&D Tax policy in the United States during the nineteen-eighties is evaluated. with particular emphasis placed on quantifying the impact of the R&D tax credit on the R&D investment of manufacturing firms. Using publicly available data on R&D spending at the firm level, I estimate an average price elasticity for R&D spending which is in the neighborhood of unity in the short run. Although the effective credit rate is small (less than five percent until 1990), this relatively strong price response means that the amount of additional R&D spending thus induced was greater than the cost in foregone tax revenue. The recent evolution of features of the U.S. corporate tax system which affect R&D is also reviewed and my results are compared with those of previous researchers. The conclusion is that R&D tax credit seems to have had the intended effect, although it took several years for firms to fully adjust. I also argue that although high correlation over time of R&D spending at the firm level makes it difficult to estimate long run effects precisely, the same high correlation makes it probable that these effects are large.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4240.

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Date of creation: Apr 1994
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4240

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References

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  1. Bronwyn H. Hall and Fumio Hayashi., 1989. "Research and Development as an Investment," Economics Working Papers 89-108, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1986. "Patents and R&D: Is There A Lag?," NBER Working Papers 1454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hall, Bronwyn H., 1993. "The Value of Intangible Corporate Assets: An Empirical Study of the Components of Tobin's Q," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt44x548gq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Alan J. Auerbach & James M. Poterba, 1986. "Tax Loss Carryforwards and Corporate Tax Incentives," Working papers 413, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Auerbach, Alan J., 1984. "Taxes, firm financial policy and the cost of capital: An empirical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 27-57.
  6. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Nadiri, M. Ishaq, 1988. "Research and Development and Intraindustry Spillovers: An Empirical Application of Dynamic Duality," Working Papers 88-06, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Jeffrey I. Bernstein & M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1988. "Rates Of Return On Physical And R&D Capital And Structure Of The Production Process: Cross Section And Time Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Roberts, Russell D, 1987. "Financing Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 420-37, April.
  10. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1984. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Patents, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Chapters, in: R & D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 73-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Partha Dasgupta & Joseph Stiglitz, 1980. "Uncertainty, Industrial Structure, and the Speed of R&D," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, Spring.
  12. Lach, Saul & Schankerman, Mark, 1989. "Dynamics of R&D and Investment in the Scientific Sector," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 880-904, August.
  13. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Altshuler, Rosanne, 1988. "A Dynamic Analysis of the Research and Experimentation Credit," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(4), pages 453-66, December .
  15. Mansfield, Edwin, 1986. "The R&D Tax Credit and Other Technology Policy Issues," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 190-94, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dominique Guellec & Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2000. "The Impact of Public R&D Expenditure on Business R&D," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2000/4, OECD Publishing.
  2. C.K. Folkertsma, 2000. "Liquidity Effects and Welfare Costs of Inflation in an EndogenousGrowth Model," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 54, Netherlands Central Bank.
  3. Lokshin, Boris & Mohnen, Pierre, 2007. "Measuring the Effectiveness of R&D Tax Credits in the Netherlands," MERIT Working Papers 025, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  4. Mamuneas, T.P. & Nadiri, M.I., 1993. "Public R&D Policies and Cost Behavior of the U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 93-44, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Hernandez, Gustavo Adolfo & Soto, Carolina & Prada, Sergio & Ramirez, Juan Mauricio, 2000. "Exenciones tributarias: Costo fiscal y anĂ¡lisis de incidencia
    [Tax exemptions: fiscal cost and incidence analysis]
    ," MPRA Paper 14546, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Peaucelle, Irina, 1998. "Firms innovation activity and patenting : Russian case in mind," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9809, CEPREMAP.
  7. repec:dgr:unuint:199902 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Estelle P. Dauchy, 2013. "The Efficiency Cost of Asset Taxation in the U.S. after Accounting for Intangible Assets," Working Papers w0199, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  9. Liu, Runjuan & Rosell, Carlos, 2013. "Import competition, multi-product firms, and basic innovation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 220-234.

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