IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Are incentives for R&D effective? Evidence from a regression discontinuity approach

  • Raffaello Bronzini


    (Bank of Italy)

  • Eleonora Iachini


    (Bank of Italy)

This paper contributes to the literature on the effectiveness of R&D incentives by evaluating a unique investment subsidy program implemented in northern Italy. Firms were invited to submit proposals for new projects and only those that scored above a certain threshold received the subsidy. We use a sharp regression discontinuity design to compare investment spending of subsidized firms just above the cut-off score with spending by firms just below the cut-off. For the sample as a whole we find no significant increase in investment as a result of the program. This overall effect, however, masks substantial heterogeneity in the program�s impact. On average, we estimate that small enterprises increased their investments by about the amount of the subsidy they received from the program, whereas for larger firms the subsidies appear to have had no additional effect.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 791.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_791_11
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Via Nazionale, 91 - 00184 Roma

Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Audretsch, David B & Elston, Julie Ann, 1994. "Does Firm Size Matter? Evidence on the Impacts of Liquidity Constraints on Firm Investment Behaviour in Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 1072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Katrin Hussinger, 2008. "R&D and subsidies at the firm level: an application of parametric and semiparametric two-step selection models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 729-747.
  3. David, Paul A. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Toole, Andrew A., 1999. "Is Public R&D a Complement or Substitute for Private R&D? A Review of the Econometric Evidence," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1sz6g8bv, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Lalive, Rafael, 2008. "How do extended benefits affect unemployment duration A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 785-806, February.
  5. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Simon Gilchrist & Charles P. Himmelberg, 1995. "Evidence on the Role of Cash Flow for Investment," Working Papers 95-01, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Hall, Bronwyn & Van Reenen, John, 2000. "How effective are fiscal incentives for R&D? A review of the evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 449-469, April.
  8. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  9. Lerner, Josh, 1999. "The Government as Venture Capitalist: The Long-Run Impact of the SBIR Program," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(3), pages 285-318, July.
  10. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2006. "Cash-on-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 12639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Almus, Matthias & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2001. "The effects of public R&D subsidies on firms' innovation activities: the case of Eastern Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-10, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  13. Guiso, Luigi, 1997. "High-Tech Firms and Credit Rationing," CEPR Discussion Papers 1696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Hujer, Reinhard & Radić, Dubravko, 2005. "Evaluating the Impacts of Subsidies on Innovation Activities in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-43, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Reinhard Hujer & Dubravko Radic, 2005. "Evaluating The Impacts Of Subsidies On Innovation Activities In Germany," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(4), pages 565-586, 09.
  16. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Isabel Busom, 2000. "An Empirical Evaluation of The Effects of R&D Subsidies," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 111-148.
  18. Lee G. Branstetter & Mariko Sakakibara, 2002. "When Do Research Consortia Work Well and Why? Evidence from Japanese Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 143-159, March.
  19. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
  21. Patrick Kline, 2010. "Place Based Policies, Heterogeneity, and Agglomeration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 383-87, May.
  22. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  23. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-340.
  24. Bronzini, Raffaello & de Blasio, Guido, 2006. "Evaluating the impact of investment incentives: The case of Italy's Law 488/1992," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 327-349, September.
  25. Gabriele Roberto & Zamarian Marco & Zaninotto Enrico, 2007. "The Effects of Public Aid to Private Investments on Firm Performance: The Case of Trentino," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 265-280.
  26. Bond, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 2007. "Microeconometric Models of Investment and Employment," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 65 Elsevier.
  27. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  28. Lach, Saul, 2002. "Do R&D Subsidies Stimulate or Displace Private R&D? Evidence from Israel," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 369-90, December.
  29. Klette, Tor Jakob & Moen, Jarle & Griliches, Zvi, 2000. "Do subsidies to commercial R&D reduce market failures? Microeconometric evaluation studies1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 471-495, April.
  30. Xulia González & Jordi Jaumandreu & Consuelo Pazó, 2001. "Barriers to innovation and subsidy e¤ectiveness," Working Papers 0112, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada.
  31. Audretsch, David B. & Elston, Julie Ann, 2000. "Does firm size matter? Evidence on the impact of liquidity constraint on firm investment behavior in Germany," HWWA Discussion Papers 113, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  32. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
  33. Valentina Adorno & Cristina Bernini & Guido Pellegrini, 2007. "The Impact of Capital Subsidies: New Estimations under Continuous Treatment," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 66(1), pages 67-92, March.
  34. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Vojislav Maksimovic, 2005. "Financial and Legal Constraints to Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 137-177, 02.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_791_11. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.