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Tax Policy and R&D Investment by Australian Firms




This paper examines the determinants of investment in R&D by Australian firms, with a focus on the role of tax policy. The analysis considers an unbalanced panel of financial data of approximately 500 large Australian firms between 1990 and 2005. The principal result is that no evidence can be found that the user cost of R&D is an important determinant of firm R&D investment decisions. A corollary is that there is no evidence that tax incentives are an effective policy tool. Growth in sales is found to be the primary determinant of R&D investment, which is interpreted as evidence of the central role of demand conditions. Copyright © 2010 The Economic Society of Australia.

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  • Russell Thomson, 2010. "Tax Policy and R&D Investment by Australian Firms," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(273), pages 260-280, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:86:y:2010:i:273:p:260-280

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse & Benoit Mulkay, 1998. "Does cash flow cause investment and R&D: an exploration using panel data for French, Japanes and United States scientific firms," IFS Working Papers W98/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    7. David J. TEECE, 2008. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Transfer And Licensing Of Know-How And Intellectual Property Understanding the Multinational Enterprise in the Modern World, chapter 5, pages 67-87 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    9. Richardson, Martin & Wilkie, Simon, 1995. "Incremental R&D Subsidies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 161-175, March.
    10. L. C. Hunter & Elizabeth Webster & Anne Wyatt, 2005. "Measuring Intangible Investment," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
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    12. Dagenais, M. & Mohnen, P. & Therrien, P., 1997. "Do Canadian Firms Respond to Fiscal Incentives To Research and Development?," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 97b05, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
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    14. Jeffrey I. Bernstein, 1986. "The Effect of Direct and Indirect Tax Incentives on Canadian Industrial R&D Expenditures," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 12(3), pages 438-448, September.
    15. James Love & Stephen Roper, 1999. "The Determinants of Innovation: R & D, Technology Transfer and Networking Effects," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 15(1), pages 43-64, August.
    16. George Symeonidis, 1996. "Innovation, Firm Size and Market Structure: Schumpeterian Hypotheses and Some New Themes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 161, OECD Publishing.
    17. Bronwyn H. Hall & John van Reenen, 1999. "How Effective are Fiscal Incentives for R&D? A New Review of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. William Griffiths & Elizabeth Webster, 2004. "The Determinants of Research and Development and Intellectual Property Usage among Australian Companies, 1989 to 2002," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
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    Cited by:

    1. Russell Thomson & Elizabeth Webster, 2012. "The Design of R & D Support Schemes for Industry," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 31(4), pages 464-477, December.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm


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