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Returns to public R&D grants and subsidies

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Abstract

We address the question of whether the returns to R&D differ between R&D projects funded by public grants and R&D in general. To answer this question, we use a flexible production function that distinguishes between different types of R&D by source of finance. Our approach requires no adjustment of the sample or data in order to include firms that never invest in R&D, in contrast to the standard Cobb-Douglas production specification. We investigate the productivity and profitability effects of R&D using a comprehensive panel of Norwegian firms over the period 2001-2009. The results suggest that the returns to R&D projects subsidized by the Research Council of Norway do not differ significantly from R&D spending in general. Our estimate of the average rate of return to R&D is about 10 percent. This estimate is robust with respect to whether firms with zero R&D are included in the estimation sample or not. In contrast, using a standard Cobb-Douglas specification and restricting the sample of firms to those with positive R&D, leads to implausibly high estimates of the rate of returns.

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  • Ådne Cappelen & Arvid Raknerud & Marina Rybalka, 2013. "Returns to public R&D grants and subsidies," Discussion Papers 740, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:740
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    1. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques & Mohnen, Pierre, 2010. "Measuring the Returns to R&D," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rachel Griffith & Elena Huergo & Jacques Mairesse & Bettina Peters, 2006. "Innovation and Productivity Across Four European Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(4), pages 483-498, Winter.
    4. Jacques Mairesse & Pierre Mohnen, 2005. "The Importance of R&D for Innovation: A Reassessment Using French Survey Data," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 30(2_2), pages 183-197, January.
    5. Cappelen, Ådne & Raknerud, Arvid & Rybalka, Marina, 2012. "The effects of R&D tax credits on patenting and innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 334-345.
    6. Bronwyn H. Hall & Francesca Lotti & Jacques Mairesse, 2013. "Evidence on the impact of R&D and ICT investments on innovation and productivity in Italian firms," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 300-328, April.
    7. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-596, September.
    8. Bruno Crepon & Emmanuel Duguet & Jacques Mairesse, 1998. "Research, Innovation And Productivity: An Econometric Analysis At The Firm Level," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 115-158.
    9. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    Keywords

    Returns to R&D; Public grants; Public subsidies; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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