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Evaluating the robustness of the effect of public subsidies on firms’ R&D: an application to Italy

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Abstract

This paper applies different econometric methods to evaluate the effect of public subsidies on firms’ R&D activity. For the sake of robustness, results from the Heckman selection model (Heckit), Control-function regression, Difference-in-differences, and various Matching methods are compared by using the third and fourth wave of the Italian Community Innovation Survey (CIS3, years 1998-2000 and CIS4, years 2002-2004). We predict the absence of a full crowding-out of private R&D performance, both for the whole sample and for some subsets of firms. Nevertheless, we conclude that while for variables expressed as ratio (R&D intensity and R&D per employee) the difference in results is negligible, R&D expenditure presents a strong variability among the approaches, even for those relying on similar identification assumptions. Given the utmost importance of this target-variable, future works should go beyond the use of single methods, especially when they are thought of to steer future policymaking.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Cerulli & Bianca Potì, 2012. "Evaluating the robustness of the effect of public subsidies on firms’ R&D: an application to Italy," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 15, pages 287-320, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:15:y:2012:n:2:p:287-320
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    Cited by:

    1. Deokho Cho & Kyunghee Choi, 2014. "The Effects of the Government Research and Development Support Policies on the Local Firm's Innovative Performance," ERSA conference papers ersa14p6, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Bianchini, Stefano & Llerena, Patrick & Martino, Roberto, 2019. "The impact of R&D subsidies under different institutional frameworks," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 65-78.
    3. Archibugi, Daniele & Filippetti, Andrea, 2018. "The retreat of public research and its adverse consequences on innovation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 97-111.
    4. Emmanuel Chavez, 2020. "The Effects of Public R&D Subsidies on Private R&D Activities in Mexico," Working Papers halshs-02355106, HAL.
    5. Emmanuel Chavez, 2020. "The Effects of R&D Tax Credits and Subsidies onPrivate R&D in Mexico (Chapter 2)," Working Papers halshs-02652063, HAL.
    6. Heijs, Joost & Guerrero, Alex J. & Huergo, Elena, 2020. "Matching methods for impact evaluation of public subsidies to business R&D: Measuring heterogeneous effects," MPRA Paper 103874, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Huergo, Elena & Trenado, Mayte & Ubierna, Andrés, 2016. "The impact of public support on firm propensity to engage in R&D: Spanish experience," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 206-219.
    8. Claudio Petti & Lauretta Rubini & Silvia Podetti, 2017. "Government Support and R&D Investment Effectiveness in Chinese SMEs: A Complex Relationship," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 16(1), pages 201-226, Winter/Sp.
    9. Tim Buyse & Freddy Heylen & Ruben Schoonackers, 2015. "On The Role Of Public Policies And Wage Formation For Private Investment In R&D: A Long-Run Panel Analysis," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 15/911, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    10. Beck, Mathias & Junge, Martin & Kaiser, Ulrich, 2017. "Public Funding and Corporate Innovation," IZA Discussion Papers 11196, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Ascensión Barajas & Elena Huergo & Lourdes Moreno Martín, 2017. "Public Support to Business R&D and the Economic Crisis: Spanish Evidence," Documentos de trabajo de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales 17-03, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales.
    12. Chiara Bocci & Marco Mariani, 2015. "L’approccio delle funzioni dose-risposta per la valutazione di trattamenti continui nei sussidi alla r&s," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(3 Suppl.), pages 81-102.
    13. Bettina Becker, 2015. "Public R&D Policies And Private R&D Investment: A Survey Of The Empirical Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(5), pages 917-942, December.
    14. Beck, Mathias & Lopes-Bento, Cindy & Schenker-Wicki, Andrea, 2016. "Radical or incremental: Where does R&D policy hit?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 869-883.
    15. Huergo, Elena & Moreno, Lourdes, 2017. "Subsidies or loans? Evaluating the impact of R&D support programmes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1198-1214.
    16. Bucci, Valeria, 2019. "The Effect of Fiscal Incentives on Business R&D," MPRA Paper 95333, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Aristei, David & Sterlacchini, Alessandro & Venturini, Francesco, 2015. "The effects of public supports on business R&D: firm-level evidence across EU countries," MPRA Paper 64611, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Emmanuel Chavez, 2020. "The Effects of R&D Tax Credits and Subsidies onPrivate R&D in Mexico (Chapter 2)," PSE Working Papers halshs-02652063, HAL.
    19. David Aristei & Alessandro Sterlacchini & Francesco Venturini, 2017. "Effectiveness of R&D subsidies during the crisis: firm-level evidence across EU countries," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(6), pages 554-573, August.
    20. Bettina Becker, 2013. "The Determinants of R&D Investment: A Survey of the Empirical Research," Discussion Paper Series 2013_09, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Sep 2013.
    21. Marco Mariani & Fabrizia Mealli, 2018. "The Effects of R&D Subsidies to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Evidence from a Regional Program," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 4(2), pages 249-281, July.
    22. Emanuele Brancati & Raffaele Brancati & Dario Guarascio & Andrea Maresca & Manuel Romagnoli & Antonello Zanfei, 2018. "Firm-level Drivers of Export Performance and External Competitiveness in Italy," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 087, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    23. Dai, Xiaoyong & Cheng, Liwei, 2015. "The effect of public subsidies on corporate R&D investment: An application of the generalized propensity score," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 90(PB), pages 410-419.
    24. Andrea Bellucci & Luca Pennacchio & Alberto Zazzaro, 2016. "Public subsidies for SME research and development: Empirical evaluation of collaborative versus individual place-based programs," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 133, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    business R&D; public incentives; econometric evaluation; robustness;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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