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CEP discussion paper

Have R&D spillovers changed?


This paper revisits the results of Bloom, Schankerman, and Van Reenen (2013) examining the impact of R&D on the performance of US firms, especially through spillovers. We extend their analysis to include an additional 15 years of data through 2015, and update the measures of firms' interactions in technology space and product market space. We show that the magnitude of R&D spillovers appears to have been broadly similar in the second decade of the 21st Century as it was in the mid-1980s. However, there does seem to have been some increase in the wedge between marginal social returns to R&D and marginal private returns with the ratio of marginal social to private returns increasing to a factor of 4 from 3. There is certainly no evidence that the need to subsidize R&D has diminished. Positive spillovers appeared to increase in the 1995-2004 boom.


Nick Bloom, Brian Lucking and John Van Reenen

14 May 2018     Paper Number CEPDP1548

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Growth programme.

This publication comes under the following theme: R&D and innovation