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Demand shocks and firm-financed R&D expenditures

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Business cycles might affect firms' ability and incentive to perform R&D. Firms finance most R&D activities out of cash flow so when cash flow decreases the funds available for R&D also decreases. This limits the ability of firms to perform R&D, potentially leading to reduced R&D expenditures during recessions. However, business cycles also influence the incentive to perform R&D. The opportunity cost of funds devoted to R&D falls during recessions since the return on production will likely be lower than during an expansion. During recessions, this provides firms with an incentive to redistribute an existing pool of funds away from production and towards R&D projects. This paper tests whether the business cycle influences the incentive and ability of firms to engage in R&D activities, in particular examining whether the response is symmetric across the business cycle.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-08-01

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