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Measuring the Cost Effectiveness of an R&D Tax Credit for the UK

  • Rachel Griffith
  • Stephen Redding
  • John Van Reenen

This paper investigates the economic impact of the government's proposed new UK R&D tax credit. We measure the benefit of the credit by the effect on value added in the short and long?run. This is simulated from existing econometric estimates of the tax?price elasticity of R&D and the effect of R&D on productivity. For the latter we allow R&D to have an effect on technology transfer (catching up with the technological frontier) as well as innovation (pushing the frontier forward). We then compare the increase in value added to the likely exchequor costs of the program under a number of scenarios. In the long?run the increase in GDP far outweighs the costs of the tax credit. The short?run effect is far smaller with value?added only exceeding cost if R&D grows at or below the rate of inflation.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0509.

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Date of creation: Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0509
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Griffith, Rachel & Redding, Stephen J. & Van Reenen, John, 2000. "Mapping The Two Faces Of R&D: Productivity Growth In A Panel Of OECD Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 2004. "Absorptive Capacity, R&D Spillovers and Public Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4171, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "Does Government R&D Policy Mainly Benefit Scientists and Engineers?," NBER Working Papers 6532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Eva Gutierrez & Samuel Kortum, 1998. "European technology policy," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(27), pages 403-438, October.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 1990. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 3223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Stephen Redding & James Proudman, 1998. "Productivity convergence and international openness," Bank of England working papers 77, Bank of England.
  7. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril98-1, August.
  8. Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Zvi Griliches, 1991. "The Search for R&D Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 3768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Mansfield, Edwin & Schwartz, Mark & Wagner, Samuel, 1981. "Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 907-18, December.
  12. G Cameron, 1996. "Innovation and Economic Growth," CEP Discussion Papers dp0277, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Machin, S. & Van Reenen, J., 1997. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," Papers 24, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  14. Schankerman, Mark, 1981. "The Effects of Double-Counting and Expensing on the Measured Returns to R&D," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 454-58, August.
  15. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  16. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "Time Series Tests of Endogenous Growth Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 495-525, May.
  17. Scherer, F M, 1982. "Inter-Industry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 627-34, November.
  18. Klette, T.J. & Moen, J. & Griliches, Z., 1999. "Do Subsidies to Commercial R&D Reduce Market Failures? Microeconometric Evaluation Studies," Papers 16/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  19. Rachel Griffith & David Sandler & John Van Reenen, 1995. "Tax incentives for R&D," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 16(2), pages 21-44, May.
  20. 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.
  21. Nick Bloom & Rachel Griffith & John Van Reenen, 1999. "Do R&D tax credits work? Evidence from an international panel of countries 1979-1994," IFS Working Papers W99/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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