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The role of taxes in corporate research and development spending

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This study replicates prior research regarding research and development (R&D) spending by sampling R&D spending for a cross‐section of firms in non‐service related industries. Compustat data for 231 firms from 1992 to 1998 are used to test whether the US Federal tax credit for R&D meaningfully influenced R&D spending of the sampled firms. Firms’ (1) effective rate of R&D tax credit, (2) rate of decay in R&D capital for firms’ primary industry affiliation, (3) financial cost of capital, and (4) marginal tax rate are used to compute firms’ user‐cost of capital for in‐house R&D. Results show that firms that were eligible for the tax credit spent more on R&D than non‐eligible firms as the user‐cost of in‐house R&D increased. These results add further evidence regarding the role of the tax credit in stimulating R&D activity and suggest that a tax credit for incremental research can be used to boost private‐sector R&D spending.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9310.00232

Affiliations: Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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