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Optimal Taxation and R&D Policies

Author

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  • Akcigit, Ufuk
  • Hanley, Douglas
  • Stantcheva, Stefanie

Abstract

We study the optimal design of R&D policies and corporate taxation when the outputs of innovation are not appropriable in the absence of intellectual property rights policies and there are non-internalized technology spillovers across firms. Firms are heterogeneous in their research productivity, i.e., in the efficiency with which they convert a given set of R&D inputs into successful innovations. There is asymmetric information about firm productivity and about its stochastic evolution over time that prevents the first best solution to the technology spillover. The problem is thus posed as one of dynamic mechanism design with externalities. We characterize the optimal constrained efficient allocations over firms' life cycles and for firms of different productivities. We show that the constrained efficient allocations can be implemented either by a patent system plus a price subsidy for the monopolists' products, together with a parsimonious R&D subsidy function or, equivalently, by a prize mechanism. We estimate our model using firm-level data matched to patent data and quantify the optimal policies. Simpler innovation policies, such as linear R&D subsidies and linear profit taxes, lead to large revenue losses relative to the optimal mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Akcigit, Ufuk & Hanley, Douglas & Stantcheva, Stefanie, 2016. "Optimal Taxation and R&D Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 11682, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11682
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:pit:wpaper:535 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chari, V.V. & Golosov, Mikhail & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2012. "Prizes and patents: Using market signals to provide incentives for innovations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 781-801.
    3. Nicolas Serrano-Velarde & Douglas Hanley & Ufuk Akcigit, 2012. "Back to Basics: Basic Research Spillovers, Innovation Policy and Growth," 2012 Meeting Papers 665, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril98-1.
    5. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2014. "A Variational Approach to the Analysis of Tax Systems," NBER Working Papers 20780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Nicolas Werquin, 2016. "Income taxation with frictional labor supply," 2016 Meeting Papers 603, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Steve Raymond & Lukas Schmid & Anastasios Karantounias & Mariano Croce, 2017. "A Tax Plan for Endogenous Innovation," 2017 Meeting Papers 109, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Alex Bell & Raj Chetty & Xavier Jaravel & Neviana Petkova & John Van Reenen, 2017. "Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1519, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Ufuk Akcigit, 2017. "Innovation and Trade Policy in a Globalizing World," 2017 Meeting Papers 1627, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. repec:eee:pubeco:v:166:y:2018:i:c:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate taxation; innovation; patents; R&D; Subsidies; Tax credits;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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