I will be available for interviews at the ASSA meeting in Philadelphia or via Skype
Research Interests: Economics of Innovation
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 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 5.5. This estimate is considerably higher than the elasticities found in previous studies of inventor mobility. Tax policies at the local level, where inventors may take advantage of tax differences by relocating over short distances, may have particularly strong effects on the location choice. In addition, I compare the effect of income tax rates to the effect of non-pecuniary amenities, such as commuting distance, and document the relevance of political attitudes in municipalities for the residential location choice of inventors.
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.
References:Benjamin F. Jones (chair) Nicola Persico David Besanko Craig Garthwaite
Kellogg School of Management
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Email: r-widmann at