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Corporate taxation and the quality of research & development

  • Christoph Ernst

    (ZEW Mannheim)

  • Katharina Richter

    (University of Mannheim & ZEW Mannheim)

  • Nadine Riedel

    ()

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Business_Taxation/Docs/WP1301.pdf
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Paper provided by Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation in its series Working Papers with number 1301.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1301
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  1. Dischinger, Matthias & Riedel, Nadine, 2011. "Corporate taxes and the location of intangible assets within multinational firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 691-707.
  2. Tom Karkinsky & Nadine Riedel, 2009. "Corporate Taxation and the Choice of Patent Location within Multinational Firms," Working Papers 0914, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. Thiess Buettner & Georg Wamser, 2009. "The impact of nonprofit taxes on foreign direct investment: evidence from German multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 298-320, June.
  8. James R. Hines, Jr., 1994. "Taxes, Technology Transfer, and the R&D Activities of Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 4932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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, 04.
  10. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest & Nadine Riedel, 2010. "Corporate tax effects on the quality and quantity of FDI," Working Papers 1013, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2007. "Quality versus Quantity – The Composition Effect of Corporate Taxation on Foreign Direct Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2126, CESifo Group Munich.
  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. 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.
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