Measuring the Returns to R&D

Bronwyn Hall, J. Mairesse & Pierre Mohnen


We review the econometric literature on measuring the returns to R&D. The theoretical frameworks that have been used are outlined, followed by an extensive discussion of measurement and econometric issues that arise when estimating the models. We then provide a series of tables summarizing the major results that have been obtained and conclude with a presentation of R&D spillover returns measurement. In general, the private returns to R&D are strongly positive and somewhat higher than those for ordinary capital, while the social returns are even higher, although variable and imprecisely measured in many cases.

JEL: O30, O37, C23, C81, D24

Keywords: returns to R&D, innovation, social returns, spillovers

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

Download the working paper