Productivity, Place, and Plants
Review of Economics and Statistics,
Why do cities differ so much in productivity? A long literature has sought out systematic sources, such as inherent productivity advantages, market access, agglomeration forces, or sorting. We document that up to three quarters of the measured regional productivity dispersion is spurious, reflecting the “luck of the draw” of finite counts of idiosyncratically heterogeneous plants that happen to operate in a given location. The patterns are even more pronounced for new plants, hold for alternative productivity measures, and broadly extend to European countries. This large role for individual plants suggests a smaller role for places in driving regional differences.
R&D Tax Credits and the Acquisition of Startups
IWH Discussion Papers,
We propose a novel mechanism through which established firms contribute to the startup ecosystem: the allocation of R&D tax credits to startups via the M&A channel. We show that when established firms become eligible for R&D tax credits, they increase their R&D and M&A activity. In particular, they acquire more venture capital (VC)-backed startups, but not non-VC-backed firms. Moreover, the impact of R&D tax credits on firms’ R&D is increasing with their acquisition of VC-backed startups. The results suggest that established firms respond to R&D tax credits by acquiring startups rather than solely focusing on increasing their R&D intensity in-house. We also highlight evidence that startups do not appear to benefit from R&D tax credits directly, perhaps because they typically lack the taxable income necessary to directly benefit from the tax credits. In this context, established firms can play an intermediary role by acquiring startups and reallocating R&D tax credits, effectively relaxing the financial constraints faced by startups.
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