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Government financing of R&D: A mechanism design approach

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  • Saul Lach
  • Zvika Neeman
  • Mark Schankerman

Abstract

We study how to design an optimal government loan program for risky R&D projects with positive externalities. With adverse selection, the optimal government contract involves a high interest rate but nearly zero co-financing by the entrepreneur. This contrasts sharply with observed loan schemes. With adverse selection and moral hazard (two effort levels), the optimal policy consists of a menu of at most two contracts, one with high interest and zero self-financing, and a second with a lower interest plus co-financing. Calibrated simulations assess welfare gains from the optimal policy, observed loan programs, and a direct subsidy to private venture capital firms. The gains vary with the size of the externalities, cost of public funds, and effectiveness of the private VC industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Saul Lach & Zvika Neeman & Mark Schankerman, 2020. "Government financing of R&D: A mechanism design approach," STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers 55, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stieip:55
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Garcia-Vega & Oscar Vicente-Chirivella, 2019. "R&D and firm resilience during bad times," Discussion Papers 2019-13, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    2. Isabel Busom & Jorge-Andrés Vélez-Ospina, 2021. "Subsidising innovation over the business cycle," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(6), pages 773-803, July.
    3. Lassi Ahlvik & Inge van den Bijgaart, 2022. "Screening Green Innovation through Carbon Pricing," CESifo Working Paper Series 9931, CESifo.
    4. García-Vega, María & Vicente-Chirivella, Óscar, 2020. "Do university technology transfers increase firms’ innovation?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    5. Eduardo FERNANDEZ-ARIAS & Jiajun XU, 2020. "Effective development banking: loans or guarantees?," Working Paper 2fcdfcfb-d113-44d8-9e02-6, Agence française de développement.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    mechanism design; innovation; R&D; entrepreneurship; additionality; government finance; venture capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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