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Productivity Growth, Environmental Regulations and the Composition of R&D

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  • Albert N. Link

Abstract

The average annual rate of productivity growth in the United States has fallen since the mid-1960s. One factor often cited for this trend is the slowdown in the level of R&D spending. In considering this factor, many researchers have examined the correlation between productivity growth and R&D spending and found that it was positive through the 1960s but near zero in the 1970s. This latter result has raised the question as to whether the productivity of R&D has collapsed. Evidence is presented in this article that the collapse of R&D in empirical productivity equations is conceptually misleading because a significant portion of R&D was directed in the 1970s toward compliance with environmental regulations. These expenditures appear to be negatively related to measured productivity growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert N. Link, 1982. "Productivity Growth, Environmental Regulations and the Composition of R&D," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 548-554, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:13:y:1982:i:autumn:p:548-554
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    Cited by:

    1. Del Canto, Jesus Galende & Gonzalez, Isabel Suarez, 1999. "A resource-based analysis of the factors determining a firm's R&D activities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 891-905, November.
    2. Burak Dindaroglu, 2013. "Basic Innovation and Firm Performance," Working Papers 1301, Izmir University of Economics.
    3. Raquel Ortega-Argil├ęs, 2013. "R&D, knowledge, economic growth and the transatlantic productivity gap," Chapters,in: Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, chapter 11, pages 271-302 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Hall, Michael J. & Layson, Stephen K. & Link, Albert N., 2013. "The Division of Policy Research and Analysis at the National Science Foundation: Its Support of Research on the Returns to R&D," UNCG Economics Working Papers 13-6, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
    5. Menezes-Filho, Naercio & Van Reenen, John, 2003. "Unions and Innovation: A Survey of the Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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