Research Paper

Public R&D policies and Private R&D investment:

ERC Research Paper No 23

Associated Themes
  • Innovation

The importance of R&D investment in explaining economic growth is well documented in the literature. Policies by modern governments increasingly recognise the benefits of supporting R&D investment.
This paper offers the first systematic review and critical discussion of what the R&D literature has to say currently about the effectiveness of major public R&D policies in increasing private R&D investment. Public policies are considered within three categories, R&D tax credits and direct subsidies, support of the university research system and the formation of high-skilled human capital, and support of formal R&D cooperation’s across a variety of institutions. Crucially, the large body of more recent literature observes a shift away from the earlier findings that public subsidies often crowd-out private R&D to finding that subsidies typically stimulate private R&D. Tax credits are also much more unanimously than previously found to have positive effects. University research, high-skilled human capital, and R&D cooperation also typically increase private R&D. Recent work indicates that accounting for non-linearities is one area of research that may refine existing results.