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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: Dec 1992
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Publication status: published as Tax Policy and the Economy, Edited by James Poterba Volume 7, pp. 1-35, (MIT Press, Cambridge), May 1993
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4240

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bronwyn Hall & Fumio Hayashi, 1989. "Research and Development As An Investment," NBER Working Papers 2973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Alan J. Auerbach, 1982. "Taxes, Firm Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Jeffrey I. Bernstein & M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1986. "Research and Development and Intraindustry Spillovers: An Empirical Application of Dynamic Duality," NBER Working Papers 2002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Bronwyn H. Hall & Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Patents and R&D: Is There A Lag?," NBER Working Papers 1454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Roberts, Russell D, 1987. "Financing Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 420-37, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Liu, Runjuan & Rosell, Carlos, 2013. "Import competition, multi-product firms, and basic innovation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 220-234.
  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. Russell Thomson, 2013. "The Effectiveness of R&D Tax Credits: Cross-Industry Evidence," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n18, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Ladron-de-Guevara, Antonio & Ortigueira, Salvador & Santos, Manuel S., 1997. "Equilibrium dynamics in two-sector models of endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 115-143, January.
  8. Theofanis P. Mamuneas & M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1995. "Public R&D Policies and Cost Behavior of the US Manufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 5059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Peaucelle, Irina, 1998. "Firms innovation activity and patenting : Russian case in mind," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9809, CEPREMAP.
  10. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe De La Potterie, 2003. "The impact of public R&D expenditure on business R&D," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 225-243.

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