The effects of public supports on business R&D: firm-level evidence across EU countries
Using homogenous firm-level data for the largest Member States of the EU over the period 2007-2009, we test whether manufacturing firms receiving R&D public supports (subsidies and/or tax incentives) spent more on R&D. The analysis is performed by means of both non-parametric (Propensity Score Matching) and parametric estimations (OLS and mixed-model system, with the latter accounting for the possible endogeneity of public supports). The hypothesis of full crowding-out of private with public funds (i.e. public support reduced privately-funded R&D expenses) is rejected for all countries, with the partial exception of Spain. However, we do not find evidence for the hypothesis of additionality of R&D subsidies (i.e. direct funding did not raise private R&D). These findings contrast with earlier works and might be due to the period under assessment, which covers the financial turmoil and the subsequent economic downturn. A focused analysis on France suggests that R&D tax credits exerted a positive impact on R&D. Overall, our findings indicate that, albeit they were not expansive, public supports avoided the reduction of firm R&D at the outset of financial crisis.