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Corporate taxation and the quality of research & development

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph Ernst

    (ZEW Mannheim)

  • Katharina Richter

    (University of Mannheim & ZEW Mannheim)

  • Nadine Riedel

    () (University of Hohenheim, Oxford University CBT & CESifo Munich)

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of tax incentives on corporate research and development (R&D) activity. Traditionally, R&D tax incentives have been provided in the form of special tax allowances and tax credits. In recent years, several countries moreover reduced their income tax rates on R&D output. Previous papers have shown that all three tax instruments are effective in raising the quantity of R&D related activity. We provide evidence that, beyond this quantity effect, corporate taxation also distorts the quality of R&D projects, i.e. their innovativeness and revenue potential. Using rich data on corporate patent applications to the European patent office, we find that a low tax rate on patent income is instrumental in attracting innovative projects with a high earnings potentialand innovation level. The effect is statistically significant and economically relevant and prevails in a number of sensitivity checks. R&D tax credits and tax allowances are in turn not found to exert a statistically significant impact on project quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Ernst & Katharina Richter & Nadine Riedel, 2013. "Corporate taxation and the quality of research & development," Working Papers 1301, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  • Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1301
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    File URL: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Business_Taxation/Docs/WP1301.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bloom, Nick & Griffith, Rachel & Van Reenen, John, 2002. "Do R&D tax credits work? Evidence from a panel of countries 1979-1997," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 1-31, July.
    2. Karkinsky, Tom & Riedel, Nadine, 2012. "Corporate taxation and the choice of patent location within multinational firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 176-185.
    3. Bronwyn H. Hall & Grid Thoma & Salvatore Torrisi, 2006. "The market value of patents and R&D: Evidence from European firms," KITeS Working Papers 186, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Nov 2006.
    4. Daniel J. Wilson, 2009. "Beggar Thy Neighbor? The In-State, Out-of-State, and Aggregate Effects of R&D Tax Credits," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 431-436, May.
    5. Becker, Johannes & Fuest, Clemens & Riedel, Nadine, 2012. "Corporate tax effects on the quality and quantity of FDI," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1495-1511.
    6. Grid Thoma & Salvatore Torrisi & Alfonso Gambardella & Dominique Guellec & Bronwyn H. Hall & Dietmar Harhoff, 2010. "Harmonizing and Combining Large Datasets - An Application to Firm-Level Patent and Accounting Data," NBER Working Papers 15851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2011. "Corporate taxes and the location of intangible assets within multinational firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 691-707, August.
    8. Joshua Lerner, 1994. "The Importance of Patent Scope: An Empirical Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 319-333, Summer.
    9. James R. Hines, Jr., 1995. "Taxes, Technology Transfer, and the R&D Activities of Multinational Firms," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Multinational Corporations, pages 225-252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Thiess Buettner & Georg Wamser, 2009. "The impact of nonprofit taxes on foreign direct investment: evidence from German multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(3), pages 298-320, June.
    11. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe De La Potterie, 2003. "The impact of public R&D expenditure on business R&D," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 225-243.
    12. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2007. "Quality versus Quantity – The Composition Effect of Corporate Taxation on Foreign Direct Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2126, CESifo.
    13. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
    14. Laura Abramovsky & Rachel Griffith & Gareth Macartney & Helen Miller, 2008. "The location of innovative activity in Europe," IFS Working Papers W08/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    15. Paff Lolita A, 2005. "State-Level R&D Tax Credits: A Firm-Level Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, September.
    16. Griffith, Rachel & Miller, Helen & O'Connell, Martin, 2011. "Corporate taxes and the location of intellectual property," CEPR Discussion Papers 8424, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-93-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Patent Quality and Research Productivity: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 441-465, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lisa Evers & Helen Miller & Christoph Spengel, 2015. "Intellectual property box regimes: effective tax rates and tax policy considerations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 502-530, June.
    2. James Cust, 2017. "The role of governance and international norms in managing natural resources," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-203, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Wier, Ludvig, 2020. "Tax-motivated transfer mispricing in South Africa: Direct evidence using transaction data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    4. Kohl, Miriam, 2020. "Redistribution, selection, and trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    5. Christof Ernst & Katharina Richter & Nadine Riedel, 2014. "Corporate taxation and the quality of research and development," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(4), pages 694-719, August.
    6. Griffith, Rachel & Miller, Helen & O'Connell, Martin, 2014. "Ownership of intellectual property and corporate taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 12-23.
    7. Mohammad Hoseini, 2020. "Value‐Added Tax, Input–Output Linkages and Informality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 87(347), pages 813-843, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate taxation; research and development; micro data;

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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