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CEP discussion paper

Innovation union: costs and benefits of innovation policy coordination

In this paper, we document large heterogeneity in innovation policy and performance between old and new EU member states, and present firm-level evidence on the close link between foreign direct investment (FDI) spillovers and eastern European _firms' innovation. Guided by these facts and motivated by the pressing debate on further EU integration, we build a two-region endogenous growth model to analyse the gains from innovation policy cooperation in an economic union. The two regions, the West (the old members) and the East (the new post-2004 members), feature firms competing in innovation for market leadership, are integrated via free trade and costly technology transfer via FDI and have different innovation performance and policy. Calibrating the model to reproduce key features of the EU economy, we compare the outcomes of an East-West R&D subsidy war with a cooperation scenario with unified subsidy across regions, and obtain three main results. First, we find that the dynamic gains spurring from the impact of cooperation on the economy's growth rate are sizable and substantially larger than the static gains obtained internalising the strategic motive for subsidies. Second, our model suggests that the presence of FDI and multinational production alleviates the strategic motive and increases the gains from cooperation. Third, separating FDI and innovation policy generates larger gains from cooperation, a policy complementarity driven by the knowledge spillovers carried by FDI.

Teodora Borota, Fabrice Defever and Giammario Impullitti

2 August 2019     Paper Number CEPDP1640

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