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Too Much of a Good Thing? The Economics of Investment in R&D"

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  • Charles I. Jones
  • John C. Williams

Abstract

July 6, 1999 Research and development (R&D) is a key determinant of long run productivity and welfare. A central issue is whether a decentralized economy undertakes too little or too much R&D. We develop an endogenous growth model that incorporates parametrically four important distortions to R&D: the surplus appropriability problem, knowledge spillovers, creative destruction, and congestion externalities. We show that our model is consistent with the available evidence on R&D, growth, and markups. Calibrating the model to micro and macro data, we find that the decentralized economy typically underinvests in R&D relative to what is socially optimal. The only exceptions to this conclusion occur when both the congestion externality is extremely strong and the equilibrium real interest rate is very high. These results are robust to reasonable variations in model parameters.

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Paper provided by Stanford University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 99015.

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Date of creation: 06 Jul 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:99015

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  1. 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.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-51, March.
  3. Sveikauskas, Leo, 1981. "Technological Inputs and Multifactor Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(2), pages 275-82, May.
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  7. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  8. Hall, Bronwyn H., 1992. "Investment and Research and Development at the Firm Level: Does the Source of Financing Matter?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5j59j6x3, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  9. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1979. "The Rate of Obsolescence Of Knowledge, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Working Papers 0346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Basu, Susanto, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-51, August.
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  22. Kim B. Clark & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Productivity Growth and R&D at the Business Level: Results from the PIMS Data Base," NBER Chapters, in: R & D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 393-416 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
  24. Bernstein, Jeffrey I & Nadiri, M Ishaq, 1989. "Research and Development and Intra-industry Spillovers: An Empirical Application of Dynamic Duality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 249-67, April.
  25. Ricardo J. Caballero & Adam B. Jaffe, 1993. "How High are the Giants' Shoulders: An Empirical Assessment of Knowledge Spillovers and Creative Destruction in a Model of Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1993, Volume 8, pages 15-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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