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How to Allocate R&D (and Other) Subsidies: An Experimentally Tested Policy Recommendation

  • Giebe, Thomas
  • Grebe, Tim
  • Wolfstetter, Elmar G.

This paper evaluates how R&D subsidies to the business sector are typically awarded. We identify two sources of ine_ciency: the selection based on a ranking of individual projects, rather than complete allocations, and the failure to induce competition among applicants in order to extract and use information about the necessary funding. In order to correct these ine_- ciencies we propose mechanisms that include some form of an auction in which applicants bid for subsidies. Our proposals are tested in a simulation and in controlled lab experiments. The results suggest that adopting our proposals may considerably improve the allocation.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 108.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:108
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  1. Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "Government Support of Commercial R&D: Lessons from the Israeli Experience," Papers 2001-8, Tel Aviv.
  2. Alexander Eickelpasch & Michael Fritsch, 2005. "Contests for Cooperation: A New Approach in German Innovation Policy," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 478, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Fier, Andreas, 2001. "Do R&D subsidies matter? Evidence for the German service sector," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-19, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Stephen Martin & John T. Scott, 1999. "The Nature of Innovation Market Failure and the Design of Public Support for Private Innovation," CIE Discussion Papers 1999-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. José García-Quevedo, 2004. "Do Public Subsidies Complement Business R&D? A Meta-Analysis of the Econometric Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 87-102, 02.
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