Table of Contents

The New Economics of Technology Policy

The New Economics of Technology Policy

Edited by Dominique Foray

This book focuses on technological policies, in other words all public interventions intended to influence the intensity, composition and direction of technological innovations within a given entity (region, country or group of countries). The editor has gathered together many of the leading scholars in the field to comprehensively explore numerous avenues and pathways of research. The book sheds light on the theory and practice of technological policies by employing modern analytical tools and economic techniques.

Chapter 15: The ‘Funding Gap’: Financial Markets and Investment in Innovation

Bronwyn H. Hall

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, technology and ict


* Bronwyn H. Hall INTRODUCTION 15.1 An important problem in the managing of technology is the financing of technological development and innovation. Even in large firms, technology managers often report that they have more projects they would like to undertake than funds to spend on them.1 There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon: low expected returns due to an inability to capture the profits from an invention, the uncertainty and risk associated with the project, and overoptimism on the part of managers. This chapter reviews these arguments in more detail and considers the evidence, both theoretical and empirical, on the extent of the problem. Economists have long held the view that innovative activities are difficult to finance in a freely competitive marketplace. Support for this view in the form of economic-theoretic modeling is not difficult to find and probably begins with the classic articles of Nelson (1959) and Arrow (1962), although the idea itself was alluded to by Schumpeter (1942 [1960]).2 The argument goes as follows: the primary output of innovation investment is the knowledge of how to make new goods and services, and this knowledge is nonrival: use by one firm does not preclude its use by another. To the extent that knowledge cannot be kept secret, the returns to the investment in it cannot be appropriated by the firm undertaking the investment, and therefore such firms will be reluctant to invest, leading to the underprovision of research and development (R&D) and other innovation investments in...

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