Edited by Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 12: R & D Spillovers and Regional Growth
12 R&D spillovers and regional growth Daria Denti 12.1 Introduction In many, if not all, developed countries there is now a lively debate about research and development (R&D), policy and its inﬂuences on country economic performance. The source for this debate goes back to the end of the Cold War, when the national-defence rationale for a variety of well-established governmental practices to support R&D broke down. Its place has promptly been taken by economic arguments, such as international competitiveness and gross domestic product (GDP) growth (Stokes, 1997). The shift in the raison d’être of public support towards innovation has granted continuity in subsidization but it has also disclosed new questions about the proper way to design R&D policy. Sceptical authors argue that R&D policy based on economic arguments misses real background as it hinges on assumptions which are not supported by the data and that, moreover, it has a negative eﬀect on the economy as public support towards R&D displaces private resources (Kealy and Rudenski, 1998). Others argue that the public-good features of R&D, among which are R&D spillovers, are such that private agents fail to capture all the economic beneﬁts from R&D investment and therefore they invest at a level which is lower than socially desirable. As a consequence, the government must intervene either through subsidization to increase the private willingness to invest in R&D or by directly investing in some amount of R&D...
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