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Business Taxation and Venture-Capital-Financed Innovation


  • Jean-François Tremblay


This paper examines a model of sequential cost-saving innovations financed by venture capital. Successful firms in research can enter the market with a cost advantage over older firms and acquire market power. Innovators have the technical knowledge to conduct R&D but lack the necessary financial resources. Their projects are financed by venture capitalists in exchange for a share of future profits. Venture capitalists can also provide advice and support to innovators, which increases the likelihood of success. Moral hazard between innovators and venture capitalists and rent-seeking behavior introduce various distortions in the level of effort provided by venture capitalists, the size of innovations, and the timing of R&D activities. The system of taxes and subsidies on R&D expenditures, capital gains, and capital investment required to induce the social optimum is characterized. Surprisingly, such a tax system must increase the cost of R&D and lower the return to capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-François Tremblay, 2009. "Business Taxation and Venture-Capital-Financed Innovation," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(2), pages 141-161, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200906)65:2_141:btavi_2.0.tx_2-m
    DOI: 10.1628/001522109X466545

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 1991. "Optimal linear income taxation in models with occupational choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 133-162, November.
    2. De Meza, David & Webb, David C., 1988. "Credit market efficiency and tax policy in the presence of screening costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-22, June.
    3. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2001. "Venture Capitalists As Principals: Contracting, Screening, and Monitoring," NBER Working Papers 8202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hellmann, Thomas & Puri, Manju, 2000. "The Interaction between Product Market and Financing Strategy: The Role of Venture Capital," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(4), pages 959-984.
    5. Kanniainen, Vesa & Keuschnigg, Christian, 2003. "The optimal portfolio of start-up firms in venture capital finance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 9(5), pages 521-534, November.
    6. Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 2001. "The Venture Capital Revolution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 145-168, Spring.
    7. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2001. "Venture Capitals As Principals: Contracting, Screening, and Monitoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 426-430, May.
    8. Raphael Amit & Lawrence Glosten & Eitan Muller, 1990. "Entrepreneurial Ability, Venture Investments, and Risk Sharing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(10), pages 1233-1246, October.
    9. Roger H. Gordon, 1998. "Can High Personal Tax Rates Encourage Entrepreneurial Activity?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 49-80, March.
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    More about this item


    sequential innovation; venture capital; moral hazard;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage


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