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Financing Innovation: Evidence from R&D Grants

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  • Sabrina T. Howell

Abstract

Governments regularly subsidize new ventures to spur innovation. This paper conducts the first large-sample, quasi-experimental evaluation of R&D subsidies. I use data on ranked applicants to the US Department of Energy's SBIR grant program. An early-stage award approximately doubles the probability that a firm receives subsequent venture capital and has large, positive impacts on patenting and revenue. These effects are stronger for more financially constrained firms. Certification, where the award contains information about firm quality, likely does not explain the grant effect. Instead, the grants are useful because they fund technology prototyping.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabrina T. Howell, 2017. "Financing Innovation: Evidence from R&D Grants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1136-1164, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:4:p:1136-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20150808
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L53 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Enterprise Policy
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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