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Returns to public R&D grants and subsidies

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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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 740.

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Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:740
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  1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Francesca Lotti & Jacques Mairesse, 2012. "Evidence on the impact of R&D and ICT investment on innovation and productivity in Italian firms," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 874, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  3. Zvi Griliches, 1979. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 92-116, Spring.
  4. Rachel Griffith & Elena Huergo & Jacques Mairesse & Bettina Peters, 2006. "Innovation and Productivity across Four European Countries," NBER Working Papers 12722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Jacques Mairesse & Pierre Mohnen, 2004. "The Importance of R&D for Innovation : A Reassessment Using French Survey Data," Working Papers 2004-25, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse & Pierre Mohnen, 2009. "Measuring the Returns to R&D," NBER Working Papers 15622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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 569-96, September.
  9. Ådne Cappelen & Arvid Raknerud & Marina Rybalka, 2008. "The effects of R&D tax credits on patenting and innovations," Discussion Papers 565, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
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