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The intellectual spoils of war? Defense R&D, productivity and international spillovers

Van Reenen, John, Moretti, Enrico and Steinwender, Claudia (2019) The intellectual spoils of war? Defense R&D, productivity and international spillovers. CEP Discussion Papers. Centre for Economic Performance, LSE, London, UK.

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Abstract

In the US and many other OECD countries, expenditures for defense-related R&D represent a key policy channel through which governments shape innovation, and dwarf all other public subsidies for innovation. We examine the impact of government funding for R&D - and defense-related R&D in particular - on privately conducted R&D, and its ultimate effect on productivity growth. We estimate models that relate privately funded R&D to lagged government-funded R&D using industry-country level data from OECD countries and firm level data from France. To deal with the potentially endogenous allocation of government R&D funds we use changes in predicted defense R&D as an instrumental variable. In both datasets, we uncover evidence of “crowding in” rather than “crowding out,” as increases in government-funded R&D for an industry or a firm result in significant increases in private sector R&D in that industry or firm. A 10% increase in government-financed R&D generates 4.3% additional privately funded R&D. An analysis of wages and employment suggests that the increase in private R&D expenditure reflects actual increases in R&D employment, not just higher labor costs. Our estimates imply that some of the existing cross-country differences in private R&D investment are due to cross-country differences in defense R&D expenditures. We also find evidence of international spillovers, as increases in government-funded R&D in a particular industry and country raise private R&D in the same industry in other countries. Finally, we find that increases in private R&D induced by increases in defense R&D result in significant productivity gains.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?...
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
T Technology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2020 12:33
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2020 23:45
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/103449

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