Rainer Widmann

Ph.D. Candidate in Managerial Economics and Strategy

(Expected completion June 2018)

Strategy Department

MS in Managerial Economics and Strategy, Northwestern University, 2017
MSc in Economics, Vienna Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) & Vienna University of Technology , 2012
BA in Political Science, University of Vienna, 2010
BSc in Business, Economics and Social Sciences, WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business), 2010

I will be available for interviews at the ASSA meeting in Philadelphia or via Skype

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests: Economics of Innovation

Research Papers:

Job Market Paper: The effect of government research grants on firm innovation: theory and evidence from Austria (Submitted)

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.


Other research paper: How responsive are inventors to local income taxes? Evidence from residential location choices in Switzerland (Latest version: January 2nd 2018)

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.


Benjamin F. Jones (chair)

Nicola Persico

David Besanko

Craig Garthwaite

Contact Information

Kellogg School of Management
Strategy Department
2211 Campus Drive
Evanston Illinois, 60208

Cell: (224) 875 2096

Email: r-widmann at