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The Effects of Fiscal Incentives for R & D in Spain


  • Martínez Ros, Ester
  • Corchuelo, Beatriz


This paper explores the effect of fiscal incentives for R&D on innovation. Spain is considered one of the most generous countries in the OECD in fiscal treatment of R&D, yet our data reveal that tax incentives are little known and, especially, seldom used by firms. Restricting our empirical analysis to those firms that do report knowing about such incentives, we investigate the average effect of tax incentives on innovation, using both nonparametric methods (matching estimators) and parametric methods (Heckman’s two-step selection model with instrumental variables). First, we find that large firms, especially those that implement innovations, are more likely to use the tax incentives, while small and medium enterprises (SMEs) encounter some obstacles to using them. Secondly, the average effect of the policy is positive, but significant only in large firms. Our main conclusion is that tax incentives increase innovative activities by large and high-tech sector firms, but may be used only randomly by SMEs

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  • Martínez Ros, Ester & Corchuelo, Beatriz, 2009. "The Effects of Fiscal Incentives for R & D in Spain," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb092302, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:wbrepe:wb092302

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bronwyn Hall, 2004. "The financing of research and development," Chapters,in: Financial Systems, Corporate Investment in Innovation, and Venture Capital, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    3. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2006. "Evaluating the Differential Effects of Alternative Welfare-to-Work Training Components: A Reanalysis of the California GAIN Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 521-566, July.
    4. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Hanel, Petr & Rosa, Julio Miguel, 2011. "Evaluating the impact of R&D tax credits on innovation: A microeconometric study on Canadian firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 217-229, March.
    5. Blanes, J. Vicente & Busom, Isabel, 2004. "Who participates in R&D subsidy programs?: The case of Spanish manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1459-1476, December.
    6. Petr Hanel, 2003. "Impact Of Government Support Programs On Innovation By Canadian Manufacturing Firms," Cahiers de recherche 04-02, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    7. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
    9. Isabel Busom, 2000. "An Empirical Evaluation of The Effects of R&D Subsidies," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 111-148.
    10. Nicolas 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.
    11. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Fier, Andreas, 2002. "Do Innovation Subsidies Crowd Out Private Investment? Evidence from the German Service Sector," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    12. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1537-1557, November.
    13. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Some practical issues in the evaluation of heterogeneous labour market programmes by matching methods," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 59-82.
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    15. Almus, Matthias & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2003. "The Effects of Public R&D Subsidies on Firms' Innovation Activities: The Case of Eastern Germany," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(2), pages 226-236, April.
    16. DUGUET Emmanuel, 2004. "Are R&D subsidies a substitute or a complement to privately funded R&D? Evidence from France using propensity score methods for non- experimental data," Public Economics 0411007, EconWPA.
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    18. Barbara Sianesi, 2001. "Propensity score matching," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2001 12, Stata Users Group, revised 23 Aug 2001.
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    20. Aerts, Kris & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2004. "Using Innovation Survey Data to Evaluate R&D Policy: The Case of Belgium," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-55, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    23. Dietmar Harhoff, 1998. "Are there Financing Constraints for R&D and Investment in German Manufacturing Firms," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 49-50, pages 421-456.
    24. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, January.
    25. Bronwyn H. Hall & John van Reenen, 1999. "How Effective are Fiscal Incentives for R&D? A New Review of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rufin Baghana & Pierre Mohnen, 2009. "Effectiveness of R&D tax incentives in small and large enterprises in Québec," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 91-107, June.
    2. Daniel Gama e Colombo, 2016. "Impact Assessment of Tax Incentives to Foster Industrial Innovation in Brazil: The Case of Law 11,196/05," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2016_30, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    3. Benjamin Montmartin & Marcos Herrera & Nadine Massard, 2015. "R&D Policies in France: New Evidence from a NUTS3 Spatial Analysis," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-26, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    4. Boris Lokshin & Pierre Mohnen, 2012. "How effective are level-based R&D tax credits? Evidence from the Netherlands," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(12), pages 1527-1538, April.
    5. Knoll, Bodo & Baumann, Martina & Riedel, Nadine, 2014. "The Global Effects of R&D Tax Incentives: Evidence from Micro-Data," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100347, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Benjamin Montmartin & Marcos Herrera & Nadine Massard, 2017. "R&D Policy regimes in France: New Evidence from a spatio-temporal Analysis," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-22, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    7. Irem Guceri, 2015. "Tax incentives and R&D: an evaluation of the 2002 UK reform using micro data," Working Papers 1511, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    8. Michel Dumont, 2013. "Working Paper 01-13 - The impact of subsidies and fiscal incentives on corporate R&D expenditures in Belgium (2001-2009)," Working Papers 1301, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.
    9. André Spithoven, Belgian Science Policy Office and Ghent University & Michel Dumont & Peter Teirlinck, Belgian Science Policy Office and KU Leuven, 2014. "Working Paper 08-14 - Public support for R&D and the educational mix of R&D employees," Working Papers 1408, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.
    10. Guerzoni, Marco & Raiteri, Emilio, 2015. "Demand-side vs. supply-side technology policies: Hidden treatment and new empirical evidence on the policy mix," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 726-747.
    11. Benito, Mónica & Romera, Rosario, 2013. "How to boost the PhD labour market? : facts from the R&D and innovation policies side," DES - Working Papers. Statistics and Econometrics. WS ws133127, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Estadística.
    12. Michel Dumont, 2015. "Working Paper 05-15 - Evaluation of federal tax incentives for private R&D in Belgium: An update," Working Papers 1505, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.

    More about this item


    Matching methods;

    JEL classification:

    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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