Effectiveness of R&D Tax Incentives in Small and Large Enterprises in Québec

Rufin Baghana & Pierre Mohnen


In this paper we evaluate the effectiveness of R&D tax incentives in Quebec, using manufacturing firm data from 1997 to 2003 originating from R&D surveys, annual surveys of manufactures and administrative data. The estimated price elasticity of R&D is -0.10 in the short run and -0.14 in the long run, with a slightly higher elasticities for small firms than for large firms. We show that there is a deadweight loss associated with level-based R&D tax incentives that is particularly acute for large firms. For small firms it is not sizeable enough to suppress the R&D additionality, at least not during quite a number of years after the initial tax change. Incremental R&D tax credits do not suffer from this deadweight loss and are from that perspective preferable to level-based tax incentives.

Keywords: R&D tax credits, Quebec, price elasticity of R&D

JEL codes: O32, O38, H25, H50, C23

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872