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Do R&D tax credits work? Evidence from an international panel of countries 1979-1994


  • Nicolas Bloom

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Rachel Griffith

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and IFS and Manchester)

  • John Van Reenen

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)


This paper examines the impact of fiscal incentives on the level of R&D investment. An econometric model of R&D investment is estimated using a new panel of data on tax changes and R&D spending in nine OECD countries over a nineteen year period (1979-1997). We find evidence that tax incentives are effective in increasing R&D intensity. This is true even after allowing for permanent country specific characteristics, world macro shocks and other policy influences. We estimate that a 10 per cent fall in the cost of R&D stimulates just over a 1 per cent rise in the level of R&D in the short-run; and just under a 10 per cent rise in R&D in the long-run.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:99/08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boadway, Robin & Bruce, Neil, 1984. "A general proposition on the design of a neutral business tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 231-239, July.
    2. Bonds, Stephen R. & Devereux, Michael P., 1995. "On the design of a neutral business tax under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 57-71, September.
    3. King, Mervyn A., 1975. "Taxation, corporate financial policy, and the cost of capital : A comment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 271-279, August.
    4. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1973. "Taxation, corporate financial policy, and the cost of capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-34, February.
    5. Fane, G., 1987. "Neutral taxation under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 95-105, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tor Jakob Klette & Jarle Møen, 1999. "From Growth Theory to Technology Policy - Coordination Problems in Theory and Practice," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 25, pages 53-74.
    2. Martínez Ros, Ester & Busom, Isabel & Corchuelo, Beatriz, 2011. "Tax incentives and direct support for R&D : what do firms use and why?," INDEM - Working Paper Business Economic Series id-11-03, Instituto para el Desarrollo Empresarial (INDEM).
    3. 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.
    4. Griffith, Rachel & Miller, Helen & O'Connell, Martin, 2011. "Corporate taxes and the location of intellectual property," CEPR Discussion Papers 8424, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Measuring the cost-effectiveness of an R&D tax credit for the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(3), pages 375-399, September.
    6. 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.

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    JEL classification:

    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities

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