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Government debt and the returns to innovation

Author

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  • Croce, M.M.
  • Nguyen, Thien T.
  • Raymond, S.
  • Schmid, L.

Abstract

Elevated levels of government debt raise concerns about their effects on long-term growth prospects. Using the cross-section of US stock returns, we show that (i) high-R&D firms are more exposed to government debt and pay higher expected returns than low-R&D firms, and (ii) higher levels of the debt-to-GDP ratio predict higher risk premiums for high-R&D firms. Furthermore, rises in the cost of capital for innovation-intensive firms predict declines in subsequent productivity and economic growth. We propose a production-based asset pricing model with endogenous innovation and fiscal policy shocks that can rationalize key aspects of the empirical evidence. Our study highlights a novel and distinct risk channel shaping the link between government debt and future growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Croce, M.M. & Nguyen, Thien T. & Raymond, S. & Schmid, L., 2019. "Government debt and the returns to innovation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(3), pages 205-225.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:132:y:2019:i:3:p:205-225
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2018.11.010
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Government debt; Fiscal uncertainty; Cross section of stock returns; Predictability; R&D; Growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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