Staff Report 459

Aggregate Implications of Innovation Policy

Andrew Atkeson | Consultant
Ariel Burstein

Revised November 9, 2017

We examine the quantitative impact of policy-induced changes in innovative investment by firms on growth in aggregate productivity and output in a model that nests several of the canonical models in the literature. We isolate two statistics that play a key role in shaping the model’s predicted response of aggregate productivity, output, and welfare to a policy-induced change in the innovation intensity of the economy. Given estimates of these statistics, we find that there is only modest scope for increasing aggregate productivity and output over a 20-year horizon with uniform subsidies to firms’ investments in innovation of a reasonable magnitude, but the welfare gains from such a subsidy can be substantial.

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