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This policy paper provides an overview of OECD work on measuring the extent and impact of public support for R&D through tax incentives. It discusses the policy rationale for tax incentives in the broader context of public support for business R&D, describing the main features of different modes of expenditure-based tax relief for R&D. It presents evidence on how much financial support is provided through tax incentives, how this has evolved in recent years and the variation in implied R&D tax subsidy rates across OECD countries and partner economies. The document also reviews empirical evidence on the impact of tax incentives, covering in detail different categories of impacts including potentially unintended effects. It further includes evidence on the use and impacts of income-based R&D tax incentives. The paper concludes with a synthesis of the main policy recommendations contained in key OECD policy documents and highlights future measurement and analytical work planned in this area.

This study investigates the long-term effects of various types of R&D on multifactor productivity growth, which is the spillover effect of R&D. Econometric estimates are conducted on a panel of 16 OECD countries, over the period 1980-98. All results are averages over countries and time, and little can be said about country specificities.

Major results are as follows: an increase of 1% in business R&D generates 0.13% in productivity growth. The effect is larger in countries which are intensive in business R&D, and in countries where the share of defence-related government funding is lower; a 1% increase in foreign R&D generates 0.44% in productivity growth, and the effect is larger in countries intensive in business R&D; 1% more in public R&D generates 0.17% in productivity growth. The effect is larger in countries where the share of universities (as opposed to government labs) is higher, in countries where the share of defence is lower, and in countries which are intensive in business ...

  • 07 May 2003
  • Dominique Guellec, Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie
  • Pages: 37

This study investigates the long-term effects of various types of R&D on multi-factor productivity growth, which are the spillover effects of R&D activities. Econometric estimates are conducted on a panel of 16 OECD countries, over the period 1980-98. All results are averages over countries and time, and little can be said about country specificities. Major results are as follows: an increase of 1 per cent in business R&D generates 0.13 per cent in productivity growth. The effect is larger in countries that are intensive in business R&D, and in countries where the share of defence-related government funding is lower; a 1 per cent increase in foreign R&D generates 0.46 per cent in productivity growth, and the effect is larger in countries intensive in business R&D; 1 per cent more in public R&D generates 0.17 per cent in productivity growth. The effect is larger in countries where the share of universities (as opposed to government labs) is higher, in countries where the share of defence R&D is lower, and in countries which are intensive in business R&D.

This paper uses panel regression techniques to assess the policy determinants of private sector innovative activity – proxied by R&D expenditure and the number of new patents – across 19 OECD countries. The relationship between innovation indicators and multifactor productivity (MFP) growth is also examined with a particular focus on the role of public policies in influencing the returns to new knowledge. The results establish an empirical link between R&D and patenting, as well as between these measures of innovation intensity and MFP growth. Innovation-specific policies such as R&D tax incentives, direct government support and patent rights are found to be successful in encouraging the innovative activities associated with higher productivity growth. However, direct empirical evidence of the positive effects of these policies on productivity is less forthcoming. A pervasive theme from the analysis is the importance of coupling policies aimed at encouraging innovation or technological adoption with well designed framework policies that allow knowledge spillovers to proliferate. In particular, the settings of framework policies relating to product market regulation, openness to trade and debtor protection in bankruptcy provisions are found to be important for the diffusion of new technologies.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a promising new technology with a rapidly growing range of applications, many integrating technologies such as sensors. In this report, eight major fields of application are analysed, impacts are discussed and country initiatives described.
This report contains policy and practical guidance principles to enhance business and consumer benefits from the use of RFID while proactively taking into account information security and privacy issues.
RFID technology is increasingly used in a wide range of tracking and tracing applications. This study compares the implementation of RFID across a broad range of sectors, drawing on interviews with early adopters of RFID technology in Germany.
The deployment of RFID brings significant economic promise. But is RFID sufficiently secure and privacy-friendly ? This paper clarifies the capabilities and limitations of RFID, identifies the associated security and privacy challenges, and suggests measures that can be implemented to address them.
RFID touches on several regulatory and/or policy issues with potentially wide-ranging social, economic, as well as national security implications, including international trade, intellectual property rights, standards, spectrum, security, and privacy.

The purpose of this act is to safeguard against the dangers and harmful effects of radioactive waste and to contribute to public safety and environmental protection by laying down requirements for the safe and efficient management of radioactive waste.

In this paper we first consider alternative measures of efficiency. We explain why simple partial productivity measures are inadequate as the basis of overall measures of efficiency, and outline two alternative approaches. The first is technical efficiency – the degree to which output is maximised for a given level of inputs (or conversely inputs are minimised for a given output) – and the second is cost efficiency, the degree to which costs are minimised for a given level of output. Cost efficiency implies technical efficiency but also allocative efficiency – choosing a cost minimising mix of inputs. We explain why we prefer to measure cost efficiency, both in terms of what governments and regulators are interested in and in terms of practical data problems. We then examine applications of cost function analysis to two areas. The first is rail privatisation in Britain. British experience has seen a large increase in traffic, but also a similar increase in costs. We review attempts to understand and explain both the increase in passenger train operating cost and infrastructure cost using cost function analysis. The second is European rail reform. Countries in Europe have adopted a wide variety of approaches to rail reform, and studies using a mix of European and other countries should be able to shed light on the important question of what works best in different circumstances. Finally we consider how efficiency analysis techniques need to develop in future to address current weaknesses and tackle new challenges.
Railway efficiency is a topic of interest worldwide for railway managers operating in competitive markets and for fiscally strained governments. Several recent studies indicate that European railways differ in terms of their efficiency. Based on a comparison with some major non-European railway systems, our analysis provides further evidence that significant efficiency gaps exist.
This paper looks in detail at the cases of two countries that exhibit extreme cases of transport organization. In both countries, the railway and most of the ports are under unitary control, with essentially no regulation and only limited information available to assess behavior. If economies of scale are important, if the “integration” achieved by organizational unification is truly beneficial, and if competition is not needed to limit the behavior of the unified organizations, then these countries should be at the cutting edge of system performance, with high efficiency, low costs and excellent service. If the reverse is true, then they furnish at least a few data points for the analysis of the importance of diversity of organization and competition within the system.
Much scope remains to make regulation of product markets more conducive to competition ? notwithstanding progress in recent years ? with substantial benefits for consumer welfare, productivity and employment. While the general competition legislation and enforcement framework is mostly effective, measures need to be taken to reduce administrative burdens on entrepreneurship and reduce the involvement of the government in business sector activities, notably through accelerated privatisation. Policies favouring small enterprises need to be revised, with a view to fully exposing them to competition and avoiding disincentives for small firms to grow. Substantial regulatory challenges exist in specific sectors, notably in the energy and railway industries where non-discriminatory access of market entrants to networks needs to be improved. Environmental objectives in energy market regulation could be achieved at lower cost. In the telecommunications industry, competition in the local loop can be strengthened. Regulation of the liberal professions is among the most restrictive in the OECD. Entry barriers need to be eliminated in crafts. and restrictions on large-scale retailing development could be eased. This paper relates to the 2006 Economic Survey of Germany (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/germany).
Globalisation, together with skill-biased technical change, is changing the composition of jobs in advanced economies and raising the level of skills required to do them. This has increased the importance of educating a large proportion of the population to much higher standards than in the past. The government in the United Kingdom has responded to this challenge by raising education spending and expanding the capacity of the education system in key areas such as pre-primary education and increasing participation in education beyond the age of 16. Nevertheless, performance on international tests of cognitive ability remains significantly below the standards of the best performing OECD countries and the education system seems to be particularly poor at ensuring good performance of pupils in the middle to bottom half of the education performance distribution. A renewed sense of urgency, together with some new approaches, is required to address the United Kingdom’s relative underperformance in literacy and numeracy. This paper proposes a number of avenues for encouraging a higher level of educational attainment, without significant further increases in expenditure.
Despite progress over the past decades, Greece?s educational indicators lag behind those of other OECD countries. PISA scores are low, a large number of tertiary students study abroad, and attainment rates are low at all levels of education. Resources devoted to education are also modest. Participation in early childhood education and care is particularly low, influencing education outcomes in later years, the child care sector is poorly regulated and under–developed, and the separate administration of pre–school and childcare has led to inefficiencies. Education quality in primary and secondary levels reflects lack of performance incentives for teachers, deficient curriculum, weak school autonomy and accountability. This has driven children to complementary private courses to prepare for university exams. The university system is rigid and lacks a well performing evaluation mechanism. Recent reforms have addressed some of these issues but more needs to be done. Educational outcomes could be improved by giving more autonomy to schools and universities, and increasing accountability by, for example, performance evaluations of teachers and introducing standard nationwide exams at more levels of school education. A more flexible framework for tertiary education would promote responsiveness to changing demand conditions and enhance the quality of the sector. Educational outcomes could also be improved by more initiatives to counteract the effects of disadvantaged backgrounds on performance. The schools should also ensure that the curriculum prepares students with competences needed to succeed in their post–school life. This includes making vocational and technical education more attractive.
Impressive progress has been made in raising participation in early childhood education as well as tertiary educational attainment over the past 30 years. However, the inflow of poorly educated youth into the labour market is unusually heavy for a high-income country, largely on account of high drop-out rates in lower secondary education which, in turn, reflect one of the highest grade repetition rates in the OECD. The supply of workers with intermediate vocational skills is surprisingly low, despite the high return, in terms of labour market outcomes that these skills offer, even if they have recently deteriorated. There is room to raise learning outcomes up to the end of compulsory school, as measured by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), although, owing to a compressed distribution of such outcomes, the share of poorly performing pupils is not unusually large. While significant reforms have been undertaken to address these problems, more measures are needed to reduce grade repetition and raise education outcomes, by improving accountability of schools and school staff, as well as by raising school autonomy further than has already occurred. Vocational training needs to become more attractive. In tertiary education, few Spanish universities have attained a high level of international standing, and scope remains to improve the contribution tertiary attainment can make to gains in economic welfare, notably by reforming funding arrangements.
Almost all workers are educated at least to the upper secondary level and vocational education contributes to one of the most successful transition performances of youth to employment in the OECD. Higher education enjoys an excellent reputation, as reflected in one of the highest scientific publication rates relative to population in the OECD and high placements of Swiss universities in international rankings. Participation in continuous education is among the largest in the OECD. Results for children with low socio-economic background or immigration background do not fully measure up to the high standards of the education system. Improving early childhood education and availability of childcare facilities for very young children would raise subsequent educational attainment, especially for these groups of children. Accountability of schools for their education outcomes should be raised. In tertiary education, attainment rates among the young are modest for a high-income OECD country, reflecting the importance of the upper secondary vocational system. A larger supply of tertiary graduates could have benefits for productivity performance especially in the context of demographic ageing. Public spending per pupil on pre-primary education is low in international comparison whereas spending on tertiary academic education per graduate is among the highest in the OECD.
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