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Do R&D tax incentives work? Firm-level evidence from China

Junxue Jia and Guangrong Ma

China Economic Review, 2017, vol. 46, issue C, 50-66

Abstract: Tax incentives have been used worldwide to encourage firm R&D, but there is little evidence on their effectiveness as a policy tool in developing countries. We use a panel dataset of Chinese listed companies covering 2007 to 2013 to assess the effects of tax incentives on firm R&D expenditures and analyze how institutional conditions shape these effects. Our results show that tax incentives motivate R&D expenditures for our sample firms. A 10% reduction in R&D user costs leads firms to increase R&D expenditures by 3.97% in the short run. We also find considerable effect heterogeneity: Tax incentives significantly stimulate R&D in private firms but have little influence on state-owned enterprises' R&D expenditures. Moreover, the effects of tax incentives are more pronounced for private firms without political connections. Hence, reducing political intervention complements tax incentives' capacity to foster firm R&D in developing countries.

Keywords: Firm R&D; Tax incentive; State ownership; Political connection (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H25 O31 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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