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Tax Policy and R&D Investment by Australian Firms

  • Russell Thomson


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

This paper examines the determinants of investment in R&D by Australian firms, with a focus on the role of tax policy. The analysis considers an unbalanced panel of financial data of about 500 large Australian firms between 1990 and 2005. The principal result is that no evidence can be found that the user cost of R&D is an important determinant of firm R&D investment decisions. A corollary is that there is no evidence that tax incentives are an effective policy tool. Growth in sales is found to be the primary determinant of R&D investment, which is interpreted as evidence of the central role of demand conditions.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2009n10.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2009n10
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
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  1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse & Lee Branstetter & Bruno Crepon, 1999. "Does Cash Flow Cause Investment and R&D: An Exploration Using Panel Data for French, Japanese, and United States Scientific Firms," Finance 9902005, EconWPA.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-51, March.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. William Griffiths & Elizabeth Webster, 2004. "The Determinants of Research and Development and Intellectual Property Usage among Australian Companies, 1989 to 2002," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  5. George Symeonidis, 1996. "Innovation, Firm Size and Market Structure: Schumpeterian Hypotheses and Some New Themes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 161, OECD Publishing.
  6. Nickell, S.J., 1993. "Competition and Crporate Performance," Economics Series Working Papers 99155, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Richardson, Martin & Wilkie, Simon, 1995. "Incremental R&D Subsidies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 161-75, March.
  8. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  9. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe De La Potterie, 2003. "The impact of public R&D expenditure on business R&D," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 225-243.
  10. James Love & Stephen Roper, 1999. "The Determinants of Innovation: R & D, Technology Transfer and Networking Effects," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 43-64, August.
  11. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 297.
  12. Teece, David J., 1986. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 285-305, December.
  13. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jeffrey I. Bernstein, 1986. "The Effect of Direct and Indirect Tax Incentives on Canadian Industrial R&D Expenditures," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 12(3), pages 438-448, September.
  15. Hamada, Robert S, 1972. "The Effect of the Firm's Capital Structure on the Systematic Risk of Common Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 27(2), pages 435-52, May.
  16. 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.
  17. L. C. Hunter & Elizabeth Webster & Anne Wyatt, 2005. "Measuring Intangible Investment," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  18. 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.
  19. Marcel Dagenais & Pierre Mohnen & Pierre Therrien, 1997. "Do Canadian Firms Respond to Fiscal Incentives to Research and Development?," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-34, CIRANO.
  20. Martin Falk, 2006. "What drives business Research and Development (R&D) intensity across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 533-547.
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