IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/respol/v45y2016i5p1075-1090.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why it pays off to pay us well: The impact of basic research on economic growth and welfare

Author

Listed:
  • Prettner, Klaus
  • Werner, Katharina

Abstract

We analyze the growth and welfare effects of governmental basic research investments in an R&D-based growth model with endogenous fertility and endogenous education. In line with the empirical evidence, our model accounts for (i) the negative effect of population growth on economic growth, (ii) the positive effect of education on economic growth, (iii) the positive association between the level of per capita GDP and expenditures for basic research, and (iv) the gestation lag of basic research investments. Our results indicate that there exists an interior long-run welfare-maximizing investment rate in basic research that is much higher than the rates observed in OECD countries. The model-based explanation that we provide for this discrepancy is that raising public investments in basic research toward the optimal level reduces the growth rate of GDP and welfare in the short run because taxes have to increase and resources have to be drawn away from other productive sectors of the economy. These adverse short-run welfare effects are one potential explanation for the reluctance of governments and their currently living voters to increase public R&D expenditures despite the long-run benefits of such a policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Prettner, Klaus & Werner, Katharina, 2016. "Why it pays off to pay us well: The impact of basic research on economic growth and welfare," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 1075-1090.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:45:y:2016:i:5:p:1075-1090
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2016.03.001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733316300245
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
    2. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, 2003. "Early Mortality Declines at the Dawn of Modern Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 401-418, September.
    3. Holger Strulik & Klaus Prettner & Alexia Prskawetz, 2013. "The past and future of knowledge-based growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 411-437, December.
    4. Malo, Stéphane, 2009. "The contribution of (not so) public research to commercial innovations in the field of combinatorial chemistry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 957-970, July.
    5. Boikos, Spyridon & Bucci, Alberto & Stengos, Thanasis, 2013. "Non-monotonicity of fertility in human capital accumulation and economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 44-59.
    6. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, September.
    7. repec:eee:dyncon:v:90:y:2018:i:c:p:434-459 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gersbach, Hans & Sorger, Gerhard & Amon, Christian, 2018. "Hierarchical growth: Basic and applied research," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 434-459.
    9. Salter, Ammon J. & Martin, Ben R., 2001. "The economic benefits of publicly funded basic research: a critical review," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 509-532, March.
    10. Grossmann, Volker & Steger, Thomas & Trimborn, Timo, 2013. "Dynamically optimal R&D subsidization," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 516-534.
    11. Wolfgang Keller, 2002. "Geographic Localization of International Technology Diffusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 120-142, March.
    12. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
    13. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
    14. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
    15. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
    16. Nicolas Serrano-Velarde & Douglas Hanley & Ufuk Akcigit, 2012. "Back to Basics: Basic Research Spillovers, Innovation Policy and Growth," 2012 Meeting Papers 665, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Jones, Charles I & Williams, John C, 2000. "Too Much of a Good Thing? The Economics of Investment in R&D," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 65-85, March.
    18. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    19. Volker Grossmann & Thomas M. Steger & Timo Trimborn, 2016. "Quantifying Optimal Growth Policy," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 18(3), pages 451-485, June.
    20. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory and Comparative Development," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 2, pages 9-21, April-Jun.
    21. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    22. María Morales, 2004. "Research policy and endogenous growth," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 179-209, October.
    23. Venturini, Francesco, 2012. "Looking into the black box of Schumpeterian growth theories: An empirical assessment of R&D races," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1530-1545.
    24. Klaus Prettner & Holger Strulik, 2017. "It's a Sin—Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-run Economic Development," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 543-566, August.
    25. Angel de la Fuente & Rafael Doménech, 2006. "Human Capital in Growth Regressions: How Much Difference Does Data Quality Make?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, March.
    26. Holger Strulik, 2005. "The Role of Human Capital and Population Growth in R&D‐based Models of Economic Growth," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 129-145, February.
    27. Gersbach, Hans & Schneider, Maik T., 2015. "On the global supply of basic research," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 123-137.
    28. Gancia, Gino & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "Horizontal Innovation in the Theory of Growth and Development," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 111-170 Elsevier.
    29. Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2007. "Do High Birth Rates Hamper Economic Growth?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 110-117, February.
    30. Dierk Herzer & Holger Strulik & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "The long-run determinants of fertility: one century of demographic change 1900–1999," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 357-385, December.
    31. Guido Cozzi & Silvia Galli, 2014. "Sequential R&D and blocking patents in the dynamics of growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 183-219, June.
    32. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 2005. "Growth with Quality-Improving Innovations: An Integrated Framework," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 67-110 Elsevier.
    33. Charles I. Jones & John C. Williams, 1998. "Measuring the Social Return to R&D," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1119-1135.
    34. Jakob Madsen, 2008. "Semi-endogenous versus Schumpeterian growth models: testing the knowledge production function using international data," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 1-26, March.
    35. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
    36. Adams, James D, 1990. "Fundamental Stocks of Knowledge and Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 673-702, August.
    37. Holger Strulik & Jacob Weisdorf, 2008. "Population, food, and knowledge: a simple unified growth theory," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 195-216, September.
    38. Grossmann, Volker & Steger, Thomas M. & Trimborn, Timo, 2013. "The macroeconomics of TANSTAAFL," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 76-85.
    39. Prettner, Klaus, 2014. "The non-monotonous impact of population growth on economic prosperity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 93-95.
    40. Nestor Terleckyj, 1980. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Industrial Research and Development on the Productivity Growth of Industries," NBER Chapters,in: New Developments in Productivity Measurement, pages 357-386 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    41. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Growth: With or Without Scale Effects?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 139-144, May.
    42. Gary S. Becker & H. Gregg Lewis, 1974. "Interaction between Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 81-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    43. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
    44. Antonio Minniti & Carmelo Parello & Paul Segerstrom, 2013. "A Schumpeterian growth model with random quality improvements," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 52(2), pages 755-791, March.
    45. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    46. Peretto, Pietro F, 1998. "Technological Change and Population Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 283-311, December.
    47. Li, Chol-Won, 2002. "Growth and scale effects: the role of knowledge spillovers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 177-185, January.
    48. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    49. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Thorwarth, Susanne, 2012. "Productivity effects of basic research in low-tech and high-tech industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1555-1564.
    50. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    51. Hans Gersbach & Maik Schneider & Olivier Schneller, 2013. "Basic research, openness, and convergence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 33-68, March.
    52. Bucci, Alberto, 2008. "Population growth in a model of economic growth with human capital accumulation and horizontal R&D," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1124-1147, September.
    53. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 297-297.
    54. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
    55. Alwyn Young, 1998. "Growth without Scale Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 41-63, February.
    56. Scherer, F M, 1982. "Inter-Industry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 627-634, November.
    57. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-784, August.
    58. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    59. Toole, Andrew A., 2012. "The impact of public basic research on industrial innovation: Evidence from the pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-12.
    60. Park, Walter G., 1998. "A theoretical model of government research and growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 69-85, January.
    61. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2001. "Is Declining Productivity Inevitable?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 187-203, September.
    62. Peter Howitt, 1999. "Steady Endogenous Growth with Population and R & D Inputs Growing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 715-730, August.
    63. Bucci, Alberto, 2013. "Returns to specialization, competition, population, and growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 2023-2040.
    64. Joonkyung Ha & Peter Howitt, 2007. "Accounting for Trends in Productivity and R&D: A Schumpeterian Critique of Semi-Endogenous Growth Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 733-774, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Innovation, Automation, and Inequality: Policy Challenges in the Race against the Machine," GLO Discussion Paper Series 320, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:7:p:1884-:d:218138 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    R&D-based growth; Basic science; Optimal governmental research policies; Endogenous schooling; Endogenous fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:45:y:2016:i:5:p:1075-1090. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.