Research Interests: Economics of Innovation
Abstract: 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 of 5.5. This estimate appears considerably higher than the elasticities found in previous studies of inventor mobility and income tax rates. Tax policies at the local level, where differences may be exploited by relocating over short distances, may be particularly sensitive in this regard. In addition, I compare the effect of income tax rates to the effect of non-pecuniary factors, such as commuting distance, and document the relevance of language and 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
2211 Campus Drive
Evanston Illinois, 60208
Cell: (224) 875 2096
Email: r-widmann at