I will be available for interviews at the ASSA meeting in Philadelphia or via Skype
Research Interests: Economics of Innovation
Abstract: This paper examines the effect of government research grants on firms’ patenting outcomes. Discontinuities in the funding decisions of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) allow me to study the effect of public funding in a large sample of Austrian firms. My estimates suggest that a government research grant increases the propensity to file a patent application with the European Patent Office within 4 years by around 10 percentage points. Stronger effects appear for established firms of advanced age. I present evidence that established firms undertake ambitious research projects when they receive grants. Finally, I interpret the findings in an ”exploration vs. exploitation” model in which the government agency addresses inefficiency in the direction of research.
This paper studies the relationship between personal income tax rates and the residential location choice of inventors in Switzerland. Exploiting sharp differences in tax rates for top-income earners across state borders, I find an elasticity of the number of inventors in a municipality with respect to the net-of-tax rate (after-tax income) of around 4.6. This estimate is considerably higher than the elasticities found in previous studies of inventor mobility. Tax policies at the local level, where inventors may lower their tax burden by relocating over short distances, may have particularly strong effects. In addition, I study how location choices depend on other non-pecuniary local amenities. Finally, I document that inventors who have a longer commute are more likely to transfer to a workplace closer to their residence over time. Hence, using income tax policies to draw the residence of inventors closer may have positive spillover effects.
References:Benjamin F. Jones (chair) Nicola Persico David Besanko Craig Garthwaite
Kellogg School of Management
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Cell: (224) 875 2096
Email: r-widmann at