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Trade Liberalization and Optimal R&D Policies with Process Innovation

  • Thanh Le
  • Cuong Le Van

We set up a theoretical framework to discuss the impact of trade liberalization and R&D policies on domestic exporting firms' incentive to innovate and social welfare. In this framework, exporting firms invest in R&D to reduce their production costs and, in return, receive R&D subsidies from the government. While firms target at maximizing their profits, the government aims to maximize the social welfare. We consider different settings of firm competition to explore their strategic behaviours as well as the government's strategic behaviour at the policy stage. We find that tradeliberalization in the foreign market is always welfare enhancing and, in most cases, leads to higher export sales and R&D investments of firms, and raises productivity at firms and industry level. When firms are independent monopolies in the overseas market, it is optimal for the government not to provide any R&D subsidy. When goods are close substitutes, the social optimum can be achieved as a Nash equilibrium by applying an optimal R&D tax. Trade liberalization induces a higher R&D tax rate to be levied on firms. When firms also conduct business in the home market, it is always optimal for the government to provide firms with a financial support to their R&D activity. While this R&D subsidy is decreasing in the trade cost when firms are independent monopolies, its monotonicity in the trade costs is determined by the convexity of the R&D cost function when firms produce close substitutes.

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Paper provided by Department of Research, Ipag Business School in its series Working Papers with number 2014-119.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 25 Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ipg:wpaper:2014-119
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  1. J. Peter Neary & Paul O'Sullivan, 1998. "Beat 'em or join 'em? : export subsidies versus international research joint ventures in oligopolistic markets," Working Papers 199810, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  2. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R & D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 707-722.
  3. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 2004. "Symmetrical Research Joint Ventures: Cooperative Substitutes and Complements," CEPR Discussion Papers 4497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1990. "The Sensitivity of Strategic and Corrective R&D Policy in Oligopolistic Industries," NBER Working Papers 3236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1998. "Strategic Trade and Industrial Policy Towards Dynamic Oligopolies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R & D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 707-722.
  8. Collie, David R., 2000. "State aid in the European Union: The prohibition of subsidies in an integrated market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 867-884, August.
  9. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 2001. "Robust Rules for Industrial Policy in Open Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2731, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade liberalization, exports and technology upgrading: Evidence on the impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean firms," Economics Working Papers 1173, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2010. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-level Productivity…For Some Plants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1051-1099.
  12. Ngo Van Long & Horst Raff & Frank Stähler, 2008. "Innovation and Trade with Heterogeneous Firms," Kiel Working Papers 1430, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  13. Haaland, Jan I. & Kind, Hans Jarle, 2004. "R&D Policies, Trade and Process Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4784, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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